Cooking with Summer Fruit
Creative ways to take advantage of the abundant produce.
Summer fruit is in abundance and available everywhere from grocery stores, to farmers markets, to Costco and even local street sales. I can’t get enough of the season’s best watermelon, tomatoes, peaches, cherries and more. I came up with a few new recipes that include great, fresh summer fruits; frozen fruit just won’t do the trick.
Tomato Peach Panzanella Salad
- 7 vine ripe tomatoes, cut in chunks
- 3 Persian cucumbers, sliced thick
- 2 peaches, chopped in chunks
- ½ c fresh basil, washed and cut in thin strips (chiffonade)
- ¼ c red onion, chopped
- 2 c homemade or store bought croutons
- ¾ cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced in half
- ¼ c balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped shallot
- ½ c olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Toss salad ingredients together. In a small bowl, whisk balsamic vinegar, shallot, salt and pepper. While whisking, drizzle in the olive oil, until fully emulsified.
Pour over salad and let the dressing coat the croutons and salad for about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.
Watermelon Lime Spritzer
- 6 cups cubed seedless watermelon
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Crushed ice
- Garnish: lime wheels, watermelon cut in shapes, fresh mint
Using an immersion blender, puree watermelon until smooth. Strain through a sieve into a pitcher, and discard solids. Add water, sugar, and lime juice to pitcher, and stir to combine. Cover and chill for at least one hour before serving.
Add some crushed ice before serving and garnish each glass with a lime wedge or a cut piece of watermelon and mint sprigs. I like to cut the watermelon in fun shapes like stars or hearts.
Spinach Salad with Strawberries
and Poppy Seed Dressing
Serves 8 - 10
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2/3 cups red wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons grated onion, preferably yellow
- 1½ cups canola oil or vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
The dressing recipe makes approximately 2½ cups of dressing, enough for 3-4 salads. Store it covered in the refrigerator and it keeps for about 1 month. The dressing may separate but just shake it or whisk it to reincorporate the ingredients.
Combine egg, sugar, mustard, vinegar, salt, grated onion and any excess juice in the bowl of a food processor or an immersion blender. Process for 1 minute.
With the motor running, pour in the oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified. Stir in the poppy seeds. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. This makes enough for 3 salads.
For the salad:
- 6 cups baby spinach leaves
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- ¼ cup sliced red onion
- ½ cup toasted pecans or candied pecans
In a large salad bowl, mix spinach, strawberries, red onion, and pecans. Pour the dressing over the salad (use enough to cover but not oversaturated). Serve immediately.
The fish is cooked in the enzymes of the citrus fruit. It’s similar in texture to a tartare and has that fresh taste of sushi but it also has the amazing summer flavors that make it seasonal and super tasty.
- 1 pound fresh pink snapper, skinned and cut in half lengthwise, then cut into small dice
- 1 pound salmon, shelled, cut into small dice
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus leaves for garnish
- ½ cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
- 4 green onions, green and pale green part only, thinly sliced
- 1 or 2 jalapenos, finely diced depending on how spicy you like (you can remove the seeds and the membrane if you like it more mild)
- 1 ripe mango, peeled, halved, pitted and finely diced
- 1 peach, finely diced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 1/4 cup Pickled Red Onions, recipe follows, for garnish
- Red onion, for garnish
- Lime zest, for garnish
- Avocado, optional
- Kettle cooked potato chips, for garnish
Place the snapper and salmon in a large bowl. Toss with the lime and orange juice and let stand for 30 minutes. Strain the snapper and salmon and place in a separate bowl.
Add the grape tomatoes, cilantro, onions, chiles, mango, peaches, salt and pepper and toss gently to combine. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss.
Place the ceviche on a serving platter or on individual plates. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil. Garnish with Red Onions, lime zest avocado and potato chips.