With the start of every summer comes a bounty of produce that just can’t be matched throughout the rest of the year. Think tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and green beans all bursting with flavour. Here are some fresh ideas for a few summer produce staples and maybe some less explored items.
Asparagus: Asparagus's crisp, green stalks can be eaten either raw or cooked. Try them shaved in to ribbons and tossed in lemon juice and olive oil then topped with coarsely grated parmesan cheese.
Corn: Cobs of sweet kernels that grace our barbecues every summer, usually dripping with a generous helping of butter and oh, so delicious. Try taking your cobs to the next level with a Mexican twist. After barbecuing, drizzle with lime infused sour cream, dust with chili powder and salt and crown with a sprinkling of crumbled cotija cheese.
Fiddleheads: These odd looking spiral shaped vegetables are the unfurled fronds of the ostrich fern. They have a taste that is similar to asparagus. However, they cannot be eaten raw. Cook thoroughly to avoid unpleasant stomach pains. Try blanching fiddleheads and then sautéing in butter with garlic and a splash of white wine.
Radishes: The most popular member of the radish family is the red globe variety. They are crisp, spicy and a great addition to salads for a peppery bite. But don’t limit their use there as they are great raw or cooked. Other radish varieties include watermelon, daikon and French breakfast. For a quick and tasty appetizer, top baguette slices with a slathering of butter, thinly sliced radishes and a generous sprinkle of sea salt.
Rhubarb: These tart stalks can be eaten both raw and cooked. Beware of the leaves though; they cannot be consumed as they are toxic. A great sidekick to strawberries, rhubarb is a great addition to pies and crisps. Or chop, toss in sugar and add to a fruit salad or eat as is.
The bounty of summer is diverse and delicious; from beautiful, ripe tomatoes to colourful zucchini and summer squash. The season of flavourful salads and garden fresh produce is upon us.