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24 Ways to Serve Summer's Most Fleeting Produce

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We've partnered with Bloomingdale's to celebrate all the unexpected ways we'll be putting produce on our plates this summer.

Long gone are those chilly winter Sundays when braising, roasting, or any other rendition of oven-on-all-day slow-cooking sounds appealing. Now that summer is in full swing, we’d much rather indulge in crunchy, cool, and refreshing foods that have barely touched a pan.

Lucky for us, the produce that pops up this time of year prefers a no-cook preparation style, too. That’s because it’s delicious and flavorful all on its own, and it’s fleeting in more ways than one: Some ingredients will be gone from the farmer’s market before you know it, and most won’t hold up in the fridge for more than a few days.

A fresh summer salad looks even prettier in a scene set with Bloomingdale's serving ware.
A fresh summer salad looks even prettier in a scene set with Bloomingdale's serving ware. Photo by Rocky Luten

So let’s spend more time eating our summer bounty and less time cooking it, shall we? Here are some of our favorite recipes that highlight summer’s ingredients in straightforward but unexpected dishes. None of them require much cooking or stove time, but all of them look gorgeous on the plate.

TOMATOES

You probably know what to do with a peak-season tomato. Step 1: Slice. Step 2: Sprinkle with salt and olive oil. Step 3: Gorge. After you’ve done that, take a spin through the recipes below. They’ll have you pouring brown butter over tomatoes, grilling them, and even turning the tomato water into a sauce.

Grilled Marinated Tomatoes

Grilled Marinated Tomatoes by Ali Slagle

Heirloom Tomato and Lemon Mascarpone Tart

Heirloom Tomato and Lemon Mascarpone Tart by nannydeb

Brown Butter Tomatoes

Brown Butter Tomatoes by Amanda Hesser

Michael Ruhlman's Pasta with Tomato Water, Basil, and Garlic

Michael Ruhlman's Pasta with Tomato Water, Basil, and Garlic by Genius Recipes

SALAD GREENS

First, store your greens so they can live a long(ish), happy life—here’s how. Then, pickle them for an on-everything condiment; whirl them into pesto; pile them on pizza, pasta, your hand; and, of course, make salads—lots of them. Get your salad plates out.

Shalotta, Mom's Pickled Lettuce Condiment

Shalotta, Mom's Pickled Lettuce Condiment by Kukla

Arugula and Garlic Scape Pesto

Arugula and Garlic Scape Pesto by Merrill Stubbs

Eric Korsh's Farm Lettuces Salad with Dill Vinaigrette

Eric Korsh's Farm Lettuces Salad with Dill Vinaigrette by Genius Recipes

Salad Pizza

Salad Pizza by Posie (Harwood) Brien

PEAS

English, snap, and snow peas require just a quick shock from simmering water (or milk!) or a scorch from the grill to go from snap-crisp to lusciously tender. That is, if you want to cook them at all; instead, you could feature raw peas in a salad, pasta, or on a crudité platter.

Fresh Raw Pea, Asparagus & Fava Bean Salad with Herbs & Pecorino

Fresh Raw Pea, Asparagus & Fava Bean Salad with Herbs & P... by Sara Jenkins

Pea and Orecchiette Spring Salad with Perlini and Mint

Pea and Orecchiette Spring Salad with Perlini and Mint by Kat Suletzki

Milk Peas

Milk Peas by Amanda Hesser

Grilled English Peas

Grilled English Peas by Aliwaks

BERRIES

Berries: Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Here’s the best way to cohabitate with them, and below are four ways to eat them up pronto—because no matter how you store them, berries don’t like to linger for anyone.

Raspberry Rosé-Sparkler Float

Raspberry Rosé-Sparkler Float by Cristina Sciarra

Samantha Seneviratne's Blackberry Cuatro Leches

Samantha Seneviratne's Blackberry Cuatro Leches by Sarah Jampel

Biscuits With Summer Berries and Whipped Cream

Biscuits With Summer Berries and Whipped Cream by Phyllis Grant

Blueberry Soup

Blueberry Soup by fiveandspice

STONE FRUIT

Let your juicy stone fruits tap-dance on a tart, roll around in white wine, sink into a buttery batter, or mingle in a salad. They’re sure to steal the show in any scenario.

Savory Plum Tart

Savory Plum Tart by JackieK

Peach Cobbler-Cake

Peach Cobbler-Cake by Ali Slagle

Wine-Poached Apricots with Ricotta

Wine-Poached Apricots with Ricotta by The Canal House

Tomato, Nectarine & Mozzarella Salad

Tomato, Nectarine & Mozzarella Salad by sweet enough

HERBS

Many still consider herbs just a garnish for a salad when really they can be such a surprising, flavorful, and readily available main ingredient. Exhibit A: Toss together (by hand!) the leaves and tender stems of soft herbs like parsley, cilantro, dill, mint, chives, tarragon, or basil with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Not sold? Here are exhibits B through E:

Herb Salad with Chickpeas and Feta

Herb Salad with Chickpeas and Feta by Ali Slagle

My Mother's Lebanese Tabbouleh

My Mother's Lebanese Tabbouleh by cdilaura

Fresh Herbs Labne Toast

Fresh Herbs Labne Toast by Virginie Degryse

Fresh Herb Platter (Sabzi Khordan)

Fresh Herb Platter (Sabzi Khordan) by Louisa Shafia

As with tomatoes, peaches, berries, and salad greens, handle your herbs with care. They like to bruise, wilt, and sog. As one of Food52’s food stylists, I know this all too well. Herbs + hot studio lights + hot studio = sad, droopy herbs—but also, the scenario is not unlike a summer barbecue where salads are often left to sit out in the sun for awhile. Sound familiar? For ideas on how to keep your herby recipes looking perky and lush, here’s a little food-styling video we put together for you:

What are some of your favorite ways to serve fleeting summer produce? Tell us in the comments below!

Whether you're building a salad with herbs and chickpeas or roasted purple potatoes with green beans, assemble with aesthetics in mind. From chic salad bowls to elegant glassware, our partner Bloomingdale's has everything you need to create a picture-perfect backdrop for your go-to summer favorites.

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Vegetable, Summer