Plainly this is the best time of year for a home cook to recover from surgery because the abundance of healthful and varied local summer produce provides half the meal with no, or very little, cooking. My favorite food is sweet corn, which I serve plain or made into Bobby Jay's Corn Soup, served hot or cold. And it is hard to beat juicy and sweet heirloom tomatoes, served as a salad (salted for 30 minutes, seasoned with pepper and dried oregano, vinegar and olive oil), with or without mozzarella di bufalo or burrata. Or just sliced and made into a caprese salad with mozzarella, olive oil and torn basil.
Wonderful fresh produce can be supplemented with rotisserie chicken, by itself or in a main course salad shredded with cabbage, lettuce, carrots, nuts and the dressing of your choice (I use a Chinese inspired dressing with peanuts).
|Lemon verbena, washed and laid out to dry|
Going to farmers' markets can provide unexpected inspiration. One day I was browsing at the farmers' market and saw some lovely lemon verbena, which I felt compelled to buy, although I had no fixed idea of what to do with it. Returning home, I found a recipe for lemon verbena sorbet on Clotilde Dusoulier's excellent blog Chocolat & Zucchini. While the sorbet turns quite icy after the first day, I just scrape it with a fork and use it as granita atop summer berries of all kinds. It is summer on a spoon, light, herbal and a perfect complement for fruit. You can also dry lemon verbena and use it for herbal infusions (verveine).
It is a pleasure to be cooking again, especially in the summer, when preparing light and healthful meals is made easy through the efforts of our local farmers.