Tomatoes are another summer staple that explodes with a variety of luscious choices by season’s end. In fact, every year in our raised bed herb garden we are fortunate to get several “bonus plants” compliments of seed from our compost.
Fresh, snappy late-summer beans are a fleeting pleasure on their own, but jazz them up with the sweet acidity of grape tomatoes and crackly breadcrumbs, you’ve got a winning combination. The layers of colors (especially if you include yellow wax beans) and crisp and juicy textures effortlessly upgrade any main, such as our herb-marinated grilled bone-in pork chops.
As soon as I eyeballed this recipe in our latest Martha Stewart Living magazine, I knew it was going to make an appearance on our dining table within days. Unfortunately I could not access any yellow wax beans, so instead I used a combination of red and yellow grape tomatoes for that tri-color effect.
A few weeks earlier we made bead crumbs from some leftover crusty bread and put it in the freeze until such time we would need them again. Well this seemed like the perfect occasion, although the crumb was much finer than asked for here, still we went ahead with the recipe and it was great! They were a side dish to those grilled pork chops, but hardly played second fiddle.
12 oz. green beans and/or yellow wax beans, trimmed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 slices rustic bread (5 ounces), crusts removed, torn into large pieces
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
10 oz. cocktail tomatoes or large cherry tomatoes, or a combination, halved
1 oz. Manchego cheese, finely grated (1/4 cup)
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add beans and cook until bright green and crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain and transfer to a serving platter; lightly drizzle with oil.
Pulse bread in a food processor until coarse crumbs form (you should have 2 cups). In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil and butter over medium. Add breadcrumbs and season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring, until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in skillet over medium-high. Add tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in breadcrumbs. Top beans with warm tomato mixture. Sprinkle with cheese; serve.
These Salmon Burgers with Pickled Cucumbers paired with a side of Honeydew Salad with Peanuts and Lime were a match made in Heaven. Even though they came from two different sources, the fact that they shared common ingredients ensured they’d make a perfect couple. To make it gluten-free, either omit the bun altogether (which we did for the leftovers the next day), or use a gluten-free variety.
I’ll preface the recipes by saying there is a bit of prep work for both, so it comes in handy to have a cooking partner to speed up the process. As far as the herb watercress topping, we scaled back the amount of herbs from 2 cups to 1/2 cup, which when mixed with the watercress was plenty for 4 servings.
The original recipe indicated to use three Persian cucumbers. Well we can never find them in our area, so we bought a long, seedless English cucumber, using only half of it. The half was then cut crosswise into two more pieces and shaved very thin using a hand-held mandoline.
The food processor is your friend when making these salmon burgers, but the key is to make sure the salmon isn’t too smooth when processing so the patties can hold their shape. The patties stayed together perfectly, the rice flour gave a golden, crispy crunch and the flavors were a perfect combination. Now we both love salmon, but several reviewers said even some family members who typically avoid salmon, loved these!
5 scallions, green parts finely chopped, white parts thinly sliced
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
1 garlic clove, finely grated
2 Tbsp. plus ⅔ cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
4 tsp. unseasoned rice vinegar, divided
1/2 large English cucumber, shaved very thin lengthwise
½ serrano chile, very thinly sliced crosswise
1 tsp. sugar
¼ cup (or more) vegetable oil
½ cup rice flour
2 cups tender herbs, such as torn mint and/or cilantro leaves with tender stems
¾ cup trimmed watercress
2 tsp. toasted white sesame seeds (optional)
4 brioche buns, lightly toasted
Cut salmon into 2″ pieces. Transfer one-third of salmon (about 8 oz.) to a food processor and process, scraping down sides, until mixture is very smooth and paste-like. Add remaining salmon and pulse 4–5 times until pieces are no bigger than ¼” (be careful not to make it too smooth). Transfer to a large bowl.
Mix in scallion greens, ginger, garlic, 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise, and 1 tsp. salt; toss to combine. Form mixture into 4 patties about ¾” thick. Transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Chill at least 1 hour or up to 3 (you’ll want to chill the patties so that they hold their shape before getting cooked).
Meanwhile, mix sesame oil, 1 tsp. vinegar, remaining ⅔ cup mayonnaise, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl; set aside until ready to use.
Toss cucumbers with a pinch of salt in another small bowl. Massage with your hands for a few minutes, squeezing lightly to expel water; discard cucumber liquid. Add chile, sugar, and 2 tsp. vinegar to bowl; toss to coat. Chill until ready to assemble burgers.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high until oil begins to shimmer. Remove salmon patties from fridge right before cooking and sprinkle with flour just to coat the outside (you won’t need all of it). The patties will be a little loose but you can always pat them back together with your hands before they hit the pan. Working in batches if necessary, and adding more oil in between batches if needed, cook patties until golden brown, about 3–4 minutes on each side (you don’t want to overcook).
Toss herbs, watercress, sesame seeds, if using, scallion whites, remaining 1 tsp. vinegar, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Build burgers with buns, patties, reserved special sauce, herb mixture, and pickles.
Melon salads are ideal hot-weather fare, but they’re prone to some common pitfalls: namely, watered-down dressings and garnishes that slide to the bottom of the salad bowl. Because honeydew melons vary in sweetness, start by tasting your melon to determine how much sugar to incorporate into the dressing. Ours was so sweet we didn’t need any sugar.
To counter the abundant water contributed by the melon, this makes an intense dressing with assertive ingredients such as lime juice, fish sauce, shallot, and Thai chiles, but no oil, which would only be repelled by the water on the surface of the melon. Instead richness is added with dry-roasted peanuts, which—when chopped fine—adhere to the surface of the melon pieces and hold on to the dressing.
Combine lime juice and shallot in large bowl. Using mortar and pestle (or on cutting board using flat side of chef’s knife), mash Thai chiles, garlic, and salt to fine paste. Add chile paste; sugar, if using; and fish sauce to lime juice mixture and stir to combine.
Add honeydew, ¼ cup cilantro, ¼ cup mint, and ¼ cup peanuts and toss to combine. Transfer to shallow serving bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon cilantro, remaining 1 tablespoon mint, and remaining 1 tablespoon peanuts and serve.
This isn’t your grandma’s coleslaw by any stretch. We’ve taken the idea of slaw and turned it on its “head” to perk up your tastebuds and shout “look at me!” It contains both chipotle powder and a jalapeño, but if you think that might be going too far out on a limb for some of your guests, just scale them back a touch, or use one or the other.
Please don’t use bottled lime juice. Just don’t. The fresh ingredients in this recipe are really what makes it so special. Bottled lime juice will not give it the same fresh, tangy taste. On that note however, we decided next time to scale back on the amount of lime zest, and zest only one of them, but use the juice from both.
A large mandoline is worth its weight in gold when cutting the cabbage and onion into sliver-thin slices. When it comes to the amount of mayo, I suggest starting with a half-cup’s worth and increasing the amount to suit your personal preference.
So next time you’re asked to bring a side dish to a BBQ or potluck, this just might be your ticket in…