Long Reads

8 Simple, Genius Things to Do with Summer Vegetables

August 21, 2013

I hope you're all appreciating your summer produce while it's still here. Soon enough, all our vegetables will start to look mushy and orange and you'll regret not buying corn and tomatoes and green beans every single day the market was bursting with them in August. 

Now's your chance. All the fiery red and yellow and green vegetables are still here -- so go out and get them. And when you do, you'll barely want to touch them. Here are 8 simple, genius ways to let them do what they do best.

Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter 

Shop the Story

Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce

Tomato's two best friends are butter and onion. A little salt brings them together in the simplest tomato sauce the internet has ever seen.


Jennie Cook's Zucchini Butter

Zucchini Butter

Use the babies, or use the ones as big as a mutton shank -- all will turn to butter. 


Kevin Gillespie's Creamless Creamed Corn

Creamed Corn

Corn makes its own cream -- hadn't you heard?


Penelope Casas' Garlic Green Beans (Judias Verdes con Ajo)

Garlic Green beans

Sear first, season later.


Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid's Spicy Cucumber Salad

cucumber salad

Bash your cucumbers, then bathe them in spicy sweet dressing. 


Jean Anderson's Sweet Red Pepper Paste (Massa de Pimentao) 

Red Pepper Paste

Salt, time, and a low oven turn sweet red peppers into ketchup's (much) sexier cousin.


Patricia Wells' Zucchini Carpaccio with Avocado and Pistachios

Zucchini Carpaccio

Zucchini at its purest and most fancy.


Alice Waters' Ratatouille


Sorry Julia, but a few shortcuts never hurt anybody.


Got a genius recipe to share -- from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected].

Photos by James Ransom, Nicole Franzen, Joseph De Leo

Listen & Subscribe

From our new podcast network, The Genius Recipe Tapes is lifelong Genius hunter Kristen Miglore’s 10-year-strong column in audio form, featuring all the uncut gems from the weekly column and video series. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts so you don’t miss out.

Listen & Subscribe

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

I'm an ex-economist, lifelong-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007, before returning to the land of Dutch Crunch bread and tri-tip barbecues in 2020. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."