While it is hard to have a favorite season at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, summer is definitely the easiest to enjoy. The stone fruit is ripe and ready, the musk melons are fragrant, field-grown tomatoes need little more than a dash of salt and corn is abundant.
Anthony Strong, executive chef of Locanda, was at the Tuesday market this week. When I asked how the summer produce in his cart would be showing up on his menu, he was glad to tell me. “We’re doing a really simple salad right now,” he said. “Just Little Gem lettuces, some small Italian frying peppers, bread crumbs, a little olive oil, and a creamy dressing.” Anthony was also picking up musk melons from Hamada Farms including the Ananas and Galia varieties for a salad of melon and pork belly with a Campari vinaigrette.
Putting together a simple seasonal dish like Anthony’s little gem salad is never easier than it is in July and August. A staple at my house in the summer months is a simple open faced sandwich made with sliced Acme Upstairs bread slathered with fresh goat cheese and topped with slices of lemon cucumbers, tomato and a sweet red onion. Simple salads are also the easiest way to enjoy some of the summer favorites like corn, peppers, eggplant and squash.
On Tuesday at the Food Wise Booth, our market chef Sarah Henkin demonstrated one of her favorite summer salads featuring grilled and marinated zucchini. The zucchini marinated for about an hour in a red wine vinaigrette with some chopped green olives. Sarah then strained it and tossed it with halved cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs like mint, oregano and the Fino Verde basil (available at County Line Harvest’s booth this week). She tells me the zucchini can be marinated up to a day ahead of time and after straining you’ll want to reserve the marinade to use later in the week as a salad dressing. Her finished product was topped with hand torn mozzarella and toasted breadcrumbs and was just as delicious as it was easy to prepare.
More examples of quick and easy summer recipes can be found here.