Summer's bounty is upon us in full force, demanding our attention, and there is nothing I like more than a simple farmers' market supper -- as fresh as you can get, barely cooked, with very little fuss.
I've compiled some of my favorite market meals of late here. These are not so much recipe as they are ideas, so there may or may not be exact measurements because frankly, when you are doing something this simple, you really don't need a recipe. Don't be intimidated by cooking like this, just keep tasting as you go...
Slice ripe tomatoes and fresh buffalo milk mozzarella and layer on a plate. Sprinkle with thin ribbons of basil, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle with a gorgeous olive oil.
Brush slices of levain bread with olive oil and toast in the oven or under the broiler. Top with slices of fresh mozzarella and chopped cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with thin ribbons of basil, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle with more olive oil.
Figs and proscuitto
Cut very ripe figs in half lengthwise and drape with thin slices of prosciutto. The prosciutto-fruit pairing also works exceedingly well with sliced nectarines, peaches, and cantalope.
Using a vegetable peeler, shave long shards of zucchini or summer squash (or a mixture) into a bowl. Toss with lemon juice, olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. The lemon juice will help "cook" the zucchini. I also like to add shards of aged pecorino or Parmesan, or crumbled fresh goat's cheese and toasted almonds.
Blanch a large bunch of basil leaves. Add to a food processor with 1 garlic clove, lightly toasted pine nuts, shredded Parmesan and chop finely. Drizzle in olive oil until it's a nice consistency. Toss with warm pasta and julienned zucchini. Sprinkle some more toasted pine nuts on top for garnish.
Salad with nectarines
Toss together butter lettuce, sliced nectarines, toasted almonds, and fresh goat's cheese. Drizzle with some olive oil and champagne vinegar, and grind some black pepper on top.
In a blender, puree 1/2 avocado, some basil leaves, the juice of 1/2 lime, about 1/4 cup thick plain yogurt, a splash of white wine vinegar. Drizzle in about 1/4 cup of olive oil with the blender running. If the dressing doesn't emulsify, put it in a bowl and whisk it together. If it's too thick, add a little water. Season it to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss it with really fresh butter lettuce and julienned raw zucchini.
Gently stuff fresh zucchini blossoms with sheep's milk ricotta or fresh farmers' cheese. Dust with flour and fry in about 1/4-inch of hot olive oil just until golden. Top with chopped basil and serve.
Grilled stone fruits
Stone fruits—peaches, nectarines, pluots, apricots, and plums—are fantastic when grilled. Cut them in half, remove the pit, and brush them with a light oil. Grill both sides just until they start to get tender. Don't use overly ripe fruit. Serve these alongside roast or grilled pork or chicken, or as dessert with whipped cream or crème fraiche.
Hopefully some of these ideas with spark your imagination and you'll just start experimenting in the kitchen with whatever gorgeous fruits and vegetables you bring home from the market. Keep it simple, and let the flavors of the season star, and it's hard to go wrong.