The intense, sun-kissed tastes of summer are always welcome, and it seems we’re craving and savoring them more than ever this summer. Eating seasonally means making the most of fruits and vegetables when they’re at their flavorsome peak.
We asked some Kennett Square chefs, farmers, and gourmets to share their favorite summer flavors and preparations to bring out the very best in fresh-from-the-garden produce. Find their mouth-watering responses, and even a few recipes, below. Bon appétit!
What’s your favorite summer flavor?
“Cafe de Thai’s favorite summer flavor is basil. Chef Jar cooks up a great Thai Basil, Fried Rice with Basil, and a Garlic Basil Sauce used in the Crispy Duck and Grilled Salmon dishes.” —Jay Dye and Jar Primo, owners of Cafe de Thai
Read the story of Cafe de Thai, one of Kennett Square best new restaurants, here.
Tim Courtney, of Mary Pat’s Provisions, says: “Tomato!!! Every summer we celebrate the return of our BLT. (Naturally, Mary Pat’s bacon is the star of the show—but I only offer this fan favorite when tomatoes are in season.) Because you can’t spell BLT without the ‘T.’”
“At Mary Pat’s we offer it on toasted multigrain delivered daily from Rockland Bakery in NY, spread with a basil aioli, green leaf lettuce, local tomatoes, and pile it high with our signature caramelized bacon.”
“At Deer Creek Malthouse (based in Glen Mills, PA), we offer 100% locally grown grain and organic stone-ground flour, and our chef loves to incorporate seasonal ingredients into recipes that are built around using our organic, non-GMO, stone-ground flour (and sometimes whole kernel grains). Our favorite this summer is Cherry Shortcake with Herbed Crema. Cherries can be substituted with a seasonal fruit like peaches, or your favorite fruit.” —Kate Dombinskaya-Young, Deer Creek Malthouse
“Our favorite summer produce is all the delicious local tomatoes being grown in our surrounding area. We are starting to get our tomatoes from SIW Vegetables in Chadd’s Ford. We use them for our Pico de Gallo, guacamole, spicy red salsa, chicken tinga, tamales, and Mexican lentils.” —Cristobal & Mariana Castaneda, Taste of Puebla
Read the story of Taste of Puebla, a family-run business located in Kennett Square, here.
“Favorite summer flavors would be berries, sweet corn, peaches, and basil. My go-to for years now for fruit has been Rex Farms at KSQ Farmer’s Market . . . they’re incredible! The best! Molly Johnson of Nomadic Pies has also been keeping Doug and me going with fantastic quiches for lunches. I’m very excited to pick up her Chorizo, Sweet Corn , Tomato and Cheddar one today. For menu items from local restaurants, we have so many favorites. One that’s so simple and wonderful is the Rustic Noodles from Portabellos paired with their Mango Ginger Salad (which is my favorite salad ever).” —Anne Ashbrook
Borough Councilmember Doug Doerfler offers his “recipe” for Zucchini Fritters, one of their favorite summer meals, with the caveat that “Recipes are so tough for me because I never write things down and I tweak so much to taste . . . So even if I do steal one from someone else, they are probably never the same as originally written!”
- About a pound of zucchini (2 medium ones/3 smaller ones—don’t use larger ones as they will probably have too much liquid)
- Coarse Salt
- 3 scallions sliced thin (I like them sliced thin as opposed to finely chopped to add more scallion consistency)
- 1 egg
- ½ cup flour
- ½ cup vegetable/canola/olive oil of choice
- Place zucchini in a colander set in the sink, and toss with 1 teaspoon salt; let drain 10 minutes. Press out as much liquid as possible.
- Whisk egg in a large bowl; mix in zucchini, ¾ of the scallions (leave some of the dark green ones for garnish), flour, and ¼ tsp. pepper until combined.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high (or medium if you have a hot burner). Drop spoonfuls (about 2 tablespoons each) of batter into the skillet; flatten slightly. Cook, turning once, until browned, 4 to 6 minutes.
- Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate; sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve immediately, with sour cream and remaining scallions.
And last but certainly not least, Nat Caccamo says: “Gazpacho is one of those dishes which are completely open to interpretation. Of course there are the key ingredients: tomatoes, peppers, onions, cucumbers, and acid (in the form of vinegar or citrus), but there are many possible variations. Fruits such as watermelon or mango can be added, as well as leafy herbs such as parsley or cilantro. If you want a thicker gazpacho, some rustic peasant bread can be added just before blending, and some recipes even call for ground almonds. If you are looking for something a little less traditional, try garnishing your gazpacho with a grilled jumbo shrimp or some poached lobster. For a more grown-up presentation—a light anointing of peppered vodka or fine tequila is also quite pleasant! The important thing about this quintessential summer soup is that you use the bounty of summer vegetables available at your local farmer’s market or CSA while they are at their seasonal best!”
Gazpacho for 6 (Your mileage may vary.)
- 6 ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
- 1 medium sized cucumber—peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into chunks
- 1 bell pepper (color of choice), cut into chunks
- 1 small sweet onion or a few scallions, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic (optional)
- 1 cup of cold H2O
- @1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, onions/garlic, water, oil and vinegar, and process until coarsely pureed. Season with salt/pepper and refrigerate until chilled. Gazpacho can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight. Freshen up with fresh herbs before serving.
Do you have a favorite summer flavor or flavor combination to share? Let us know!