Make the tomato paella and sweet corn pesto if you make any of these recipes this week. And then let me know how they turned out. The bounty is so luxurious right now and cooking with fresh produce this time of year is just pure joy. Oh and make tomato sandwiches, everyday, if you’d like. A little mayo (or homemade aoili), 1/3-inch slices of tomato, some thinly sliced red onion, a few basil leaves and drizzle of olive oil and sprinkling of sea salt. Heaven!
Carrot, Dill and White Bean Salad
Sweet Corn Pesto
Hot and Sour Eggplant
Potatoes, Dill and Red Onion
Carrot, Dill and White Bean Salad
–slightly adapted from 101cookbooks.com
1/4 cup good olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions
more olive oil for cooking
2 cups sliced carrots, cut 1/4-inch thick on deep bias
3 cups cooked white beans (great northern, navy, cannellini or even chickpeas if you don’t have white beans)
1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons brown sugar (or honey)
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and onions in a small bowl. Stir and set aside.
In your largest skillet over medium high heat, toss the carrots with a splash of olive oil. Let them cook in a single layer – they’ll give off a bit of water at first. Keep cooking, tossing gently every three or four minutes until the carrots are deeply browned. All told, about twelve minutes.
Add the beans and dill to the skillet and cook for another five minutes, or until the beans are well heated through. If you are using beans that weren’t canned you can allow them to brown a bit as well (just cook a bit longer, and stir less frequently) – they can handle this in a way that most canned beans can’t. If you need to add a bit more olive oil to the pan – do so.
Place the contents of the skillet in a large mixing bowl, sprinkle with the brown sugar and pour the 3/4 of the lemon-olive oil mixture over the top. Toss gently. Let sit for ten minutes. Toss gently once again, taste and adjust with more salt or sugar or lemon juice if needed to balance the flavors. Serve warm or at room temperature and finish by sprinkling with the almonds just before serving.
The Spanish (and Basque) and Italian and probably many other cultures have versions of this. I have been eating it for breakfast though I realize that might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But it’s a wonderful snack or appetizer or a part of an informal dinner as well.
However many slices of bread to want to use
However many tomatoes you want to use – you need about half a medium tomato for one large slice of good, crusty bread.
Whole cloves of peeled garlic
Good sea salt
The best olive oil you have
Toast or grill the bread. Rub with garlic (little or lot or not at all, in fact). Cut the tomatoes in half on the equator and then rub the cut side of the tomato onto the toasted bread pressing as much juice and flesh into the bread as you can. You’ll be left holding the skin and a little pulp. Salt generously and drizzle with oil. The bread may fall part a bit and will get quite soggy—just as it should! Eat immediately, then make another!:)
–adapted from Mark Bittman
This is a delicious, quick, and inexpensive (and vegetarian) twist on a classic paella. It’s perfect this time of year with beautiful, juicy tomatoes. You can see photos of it on my blog, if you’re curious. And you don’t want to undersalt this so be generous as it really brings out the sweetness in the tomatoes.
3 1/2 cups stock or water
1 1/2 pounds heirloom or slicer tomatoes, cored and cut into thick wedges (about 4 medium to large tomatoes)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Large pinch saffron threads (optional)
2 teaspoons Spanish pimentón (smoked paprika), or other paprika
2 cups Spanish or other short-grain rice
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt (if the stock isn’t very salty or you’re using water)
Warm stock or water in a saucepan. If using water, add a teaspoon of salt to the water. Put tomatoes in a medium bowl, sprinkle with additional salt and pepper, and drizzle them with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss to coat. Put remaining oil in a 10- or 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in saffron if you are using it and pimentón and cook for a minute more. Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is shiny, another two to three minutes. Add hot stock or water and stir until just combined.
Put tomato wedges on top of rice and drizzle with juices that accumulated in bottom of bowl. Cook over medium heat undisturbed, for 15 -20 minutes. Check to see if rice is dry and just tender. If not, keep cooking for another 5 minutes. If rice looks too dry but still is not quite done, add a small amount of stock or water (or wine). When rice is ready, turn off oven and let pan sit for 5 to 15 minutes. If you like, put pan over high heat for a few minutes to develop a bit of a bottom crust before serving. If you have time you should definitely do this last part. The crust is fabulous.
Hot and Sour Eggplant
This is quick and delicious. Serve this over rice and if you have time make the baked brown rice below. It’s converted the most ardent brown-rice haters.
2 large eggplant or several smaller ones, cubed (skin on)
1 medium onion, diced
1 sweet red pepper (optional), diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or fresh, minced jalapeno or other hot pepper
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
3-4 tablespoons olive or sunflower or other oil
Stir together soy sauce, vinegar, red pepper flakes (or minced hot pepper), and cornstarch in a small bowel.
In a large skillet or work heat the oil and sauté onions and pepper (if using) over medium-high heat for about 5-7 minutes until they soften. Add eggplant and cook until softens and browns a bit, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the sauce and sir well to mix and coat veggies. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes until sauce thickens and veggies are tender.
Serve hot over rice.
Baked Brown Rice
–from Alton Brown
I often make a double batch and freeze the other half.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Place the rice into an 8-inch square glass baking dish.
Bring the water, butter, and salt just to a boil in a kettle or covered saucepan. Once the water boils, pour it over the rice, stir to combine, and cover the dish tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour.
After 1 hour, remove cover and fluff the rice with a fork. Serve immediately.
Pasta with Sweet Corn Pest0
–adapted from Bon Appétit
To make this vegetarian, instead of the bacon you can sauté the corn in butter or olive oil and add 1-2 teaspoons of pimenton (smoked Spanish Paprika) and then add a few squeezes of lime juice at the very end.
3 bacon slices, cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
3-4 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from about 5 large ears)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
1/3 cup almonds or pine nuts (I always use Almonds because that’s what I have on hand)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
16 ounces tagliatelle or fettuccine or penne
3/4 cup coarsely torn fresh basil leaves, divided
Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp and brown, stirring often. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon drippings from skillet (and reserve for future use or toss). Add corn, garlic, 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt, red pepper flakes, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper to drippings in skillet. Sauté over medium-high heat until corn is just tender but not brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer 1 1/2 cups corn kernels to small bowl and reserve. Pulse almonds until finely ground, add cheese, whiz again, then scrape remaining corn mixture into processor. With machine running, add olive oil through feed tube and blend until pesto is almost smooth. Set pesto aside.
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot. Add corn pesto, reserved corn kernels, bacon (if using) and 1/2 cup basil leaves. Toss pasta mixture over medium heat until warmed through, adding reserved pasta cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls to thin to desired consistency, 2 to 3 minutes. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer pasta to large shallow bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup basil leaves. Serve pasta, passing additional grated Parmesan alongside.
I don’t talk so much about grilled vegetables because we don’t have a gas grill and rarely light up our old charcoal one. I imagine you all probably grill vegetables frequently. If you don’t and do have a grill, you should. All the veggies need is a quick brush of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and some time on a hot grill. Eggplant, squash, onions (and of course corn—in the husk minus the salt and oil) are all wonderful. You can eat them as is as a wonderful side or layer them on sandwiches or burgers or chop them up and dress with lots of herbs and a vinaigrette.
You can always make skewers with our without meat or fish and with or without fancier marinades of spices, ginger and oils and vinegars or soy sauce, etc.
Potatoes, Dill and Red Onion
This is a lovely combination of flavors and your potatoes this week would be perfect here. You can either dress these with a creamy (yogurt or sour cream) dressing or a vinaigrette—both good.
½ medium red onion (or more), sliced in half and then sliced into thin, half rounds
1.5 lb (or more or less), potatoes, scrubbed well
½ bunch dill, well washed and chopped
½ cup Greek or plain whole milk yogurt
2 tablespoons red wine or cider vinegar (or more to taste)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons good olive oil
If you’re going the vinaigrette route, use the same vinegar, a scant tablespoon of Dijon-style mustard and about 4-5 tablespoons olive oil in addition to salt and pepper and mix well.
Soak the onions slices in a bowl of ice water for 20 minutes (this removes some of their bite) or longer.
Cook the whole potatoes in plenty of water until just tender. It’s easy to overcook them so test regularly and take smaller potatoes out first. Let the potatoes cool—you can speed up this process but slicing them into rounds while they’re still hot and spreading them out on a board. You just don’t want to dress them when they’re really hot.
When the potatoes have cooled, drain the onions well and toss them with whatever dressing you made. Adjust for seasoning with salt, pepper and vinegar.