zucchini flatbread photo by carmen troesser

These are the best recipes for end-of-summer produce

There’s nothing better than wandering farmers markets and catching the best of the season. Garden-fresh produce needs little encouragement to let loose with amazing flavor. That last glimpse of summer makes it a great time to be a cook.

Zucchini Flatbread  
Feel free to substitute any fresh herbs in the ricotta – thyme and tarragon are some favorites.
8 servings

½ cup honey
¼ cup water
1½ lb. (about 3 medium) zucchini
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt, to taste
2 cups fresh ricotta
½ cup (about 3 oz.) finely grated Parmesan
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
Zest of 1 lemon
1 small garlic clove, grated
1 lb. pizza dough

• Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 

• In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the honey until it starts to simmer and foam, then remove from heat. When it stops simmering, return to heat and repeat until it turns a deep, golden brown, 2 to 3 times. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the water. 

• Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, then into ¼-inch slices. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the zucchini, onion, 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt, then spread into an even layer. Roast on the top rack, tossing once halfway through, until vegetables are browned and tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool.

• In a medium bowl, make herbed ricotta by stirring together the ricotta, Parmesan, basil, mint, lemon zest, garlic and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Set aside.

• Place the pizza dough in the center of another large baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then flip to coat. Using your fingers, stretch the dough outward from the center to the edges of the baking sheet. If the dough springs back, cover with a dish towel and let rest a few minutes. You may need to try a few times. 

• Drizzle the dough with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and use the back of a spoon to spread over the entire surface. Season the dough lightly with salt. Bake in the lower third of the oven 7 to 9 minutes, then layer generously with the ricotta mixture and top evenly with the roasted vegetables. Bake until the ricotta is softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Drizzle with the burnt honey, cut and serve immediately.

Cherry and Brie Panini 
Roasting the cherries intensifies the flavor and removes some moisture because, let’s face it, no one likes a soggy sandwich. The balsamic vinegar adds brightness and sweetness.
1 serving

½ cup pitted and halved cherries
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar or port
2 slices rustic country bread
1 Tbsp. butter
1½ oz. room-temperature brie

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and preheat a panini press or pan to medium heat.

• On a baking sheet, toss the cherries and balsamic vinegar and arrange in a single layer. Roast 15 to 20 minutes, then set aside and let cool slightly. 

• Butter 1 side of each bread slice. Place 1 slice, buttered side-down, on the panini press and top with half the brie, the cherries, then the remaining brie and the bread slice, buttered side-up. Cook until golden brown and the cheese melts, 6 to 8 minutes. If using a pan, flip the sandwich halfway.

grilled watermelon salad // photo by carmen troesser

Grilled Watermelon Salad with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette 
This fresh salad balances sweet, tart, salty, spicy and fresh.
6 servings

1 small seedless watermelon, peeled and cut in 1-inch-thick slices
½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
½ tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. paprika
¼ cup lime juice
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 Tbsp. honey
1 garlic clove, minced
8 oz. arugula
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
½ red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup minced mint

• Prepare a grill for high, indirect heat. 

• Brush the watermelon slices with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with the salt, pepper, cumin and paprika. Grill just until browned and marked on both sides. Dice the grilled watermelon. 

• In a small bowl, make the dressing by whisking together the lime juice, jalapeno, honey, garlic and the remaining ½ cup olive oil.

• In large bowl, combine the watermelon, arugula, feta, red onion and mint. Drizzle the dressing over the salad to taste and toss to coat.

roasted strawberry and buttermilk gelato // photo by carmen troesser

Roasted Strawberry and Buttermilk Gelato 
Roasting strawberries brings out their natural sweetness – a perfect move for out-of-season produce. The gelato is tart and sweet summer in a bowl.
4 to 5 quarts

½ lb. strawberries, quartered
1½ cups plus 1/3 cup sugar, divided
1 Tbsp. tawny port
10 eggs
4 cups heavy cream
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups whole milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla bean paste*
Special equipment: ice cream maker

• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

• In a medium bowl, toss the strawberries, 1/3 cup sugar and port. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast until the berries deepen in color and soften, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and let cool. 

• Return the strawberries to the bowl and smash with a fork, leaving lots of texture. Set aside.

• Prepare an ice bath by setting a small bowl into a large bowl filled with ice water. 

• In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs and set aside.

• In a large stockpot, combine the cream, buttermilk, milk, vanilla and the remaining 1½ cups sugar. Place over medium heat, whisking continuously until bubbles start to form around the edges of the pot. Remove from heat.

• Using a large ladle, slowly add about ½ cup hot milk mixture to the beaten eggs while whisking continuously. Slowly add another ½ cup milk mixture to the eggs. Then, slowly pour the egg mixture into the stockpot, whisking to combine. 

• Return the pot to medium-low to medium heat, and cook, stirring continuously, until thickened, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into the prepared ice bath or refrigerate until completely chilled, 4 hours or overnight. 

• When the mixture has chilled completely, add the roasted strawberries and follow your ice cream maker instructions to freeze.

*If you don't have paste, you can substitute 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, scraped.

Elote Salad
Crema is a slightly soured and thickened cream that adds a buttery pop to the charred corn in this dish.
6 to 8 servings

6 ears of corn
½ red onion, minced
½ bunch cilantro, chopped
½ cup crumbled cotija
1/3 cup crema*
4 Tbsp. lime juice
¾ tsp. smoked paprika
½ tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste

• Shuck the corn and remove the kernels from the cob with a serrated knife. Lay on a paper towel-lined sheet pan and pat dry. 

• Preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the corn and don’t stir until it starts to pop and char. Stir and repeat until the corn is charred but not blackened, then remove the corn from the pan and set aside. 

• In a large bowl, combine the red onion, cilantro, cotija, crema, lime juice, paprika, chili powder, cumin, pepper and salt and mix well. Add the corn and fold gently with a rubber spatula, seasoning with additional salt as needed.

• Serve slightly warm, room temperature or cold.

*If you can't find crema, you can substitute 3 tablespoons sour cream combined with 5 tablespoons mayonnaise.

rosemary-infused peach galette // photo by carmen troesser

Rosemary-Infused Peach Galette  
Frangipane, a marzipan-like layer of ground almonds mixed with butter and eggs, lends a rich, nutty base to the sweet peaches.
8 to 10 servings

1 cup plus 3 Tbsp. butter, divided
3 cups flour
½ tsp. plus 1 pinch kosher salt, divided
2 eggs, divided
5 Tbsp. cold water
1 tsp. white vinegar
2 lbs. (about 5) peaches, halved and pitted
¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp. Demerara or coarse sugar, divided
1⁄3 cup ground almonds
¼ cup plus 3 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. chopped plus 1 sprig rosemary
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
Special equipment: 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom

• Cut 1 cup cold butter into small cubes. In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, flour and ½ teaspoon salt and stir until the mixture resembles small peas.

• In a small bowl, beat 1 egg, then add the water and vinegar. Gradually add to the flour mixture, stirring just until moistened and a soft dough forms. Divide the pie dough into 2 discs and wrap separately in plastic. Freeze 1 pie dough for future use and refrigerate the other. 

• Prepare a grill for medium, indirect heat. Sprinkle the peaches with ¼ cup Demerara sugar and grill just until peaches darken and grill marks appear. Remove the peaches from heat and let cool before cutting in ¼- to ½-inch slices. Set aside. 

• In a food processor, make a frangipane by combining the ground almonds, 3 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary, the vanilla, 2 tablespoons room-temperature butter and the remaining egg and pinch of salt. Pulse until combined, then set aside. 

• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

• Remove the pie dough from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out in a circle a few inches wider than the tart pan. Gently transfer the dough to the tart pan. Spread the frangipane evenly over the bottom, then arrange the peaches over it. Gently fold the overhanging dough over the peaches, pleating as necessary. 

• Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and brush it over the exposed peaches and crust. Sprinkle lightly with the remaining 1 tablespoon Demerara sugar. Bake until the peaches soften and the crust is lightly browned, about 40 minutes.

• Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the remaining ¼ cup honey and rosemary sprig, making sure not to boil. Remove the rosemary and drizzle the honey over the baked galette.

Marianne Moore is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine. 

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