Ten top chefs, foodies and growers share their favorites -
Here's how they turn our local harvest into great summer eats.
Raghavan Iyer, CCP
Chef & Author
Harvest: Okra, tomato, cilantro
Fix: Bhindi masala (Okra braised with tomato)
"Okra is one of the most misunderstood vegetables in the
world! But leave it in the hands of a good Indian cook and the flavors and textures that can be extracted are amazing. And contrary to popular opinion, okra done right has absolutely NO ‘slime factor'.
This extremely easy recipe incorporates simple spices and techniques - and it will yield unbelievable flavor."
Chef & Cookbook Author
Fix: Broiled Eggplant with Orange-Miso Glaze
"The variety of eggplant at our farmers markets is wonderful! A simple, easy way I love to fix it is with a miso glaze. This traditional Japanese recipe makes a terrific appetizer, or a hearty entree when served on top of noodles with a salad. It's also delicious served on broiled salmon."
Private Chef & Culinary Designer
Harvest: Bell peppers (red, yellow & green), dry beans (black, pinto, red & pink), cilantro, onion
Fix: Amalia's Costa Rican Gallo Pinto
"I love this dish - it's a traditional Costa Rican one-dish meal that's easy to make and really satisfying. With legumes, starches, vegetables and herbs, it's packed with flavor and nutrition too. And the vegetarian version is just as delicious as the original!"
Cookbook Author & Food Writer
Harvest: Genovese basil, Greek basil, parsley, cilantro, mint
Fix: Traditional Basil Pesto; Parsley & Walnut Pesto; Cilantro, Mint & Cashew Pesto
"It's pesto - presto! Nothing brightens cooking like fresh herbs, and fast, fresh pestos put them into play. They're a snap to make, and will jazz up the simplest fare. Basil is traditional, but parsley, cilantro and mint make fragrant, flavorful pestos too.
Pestos are remarkably versatile - tossed in pasta, swirled in rice, spread on sandwiches, spooned on burgers and grilled chicken, steak, fish and pork. Enjoy them now...like summer, they don't last long."
Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Cookbook Author & Host of the Splendid Table
Harvest: Tomatoes ‘Chris's Ukraine', ‘Pink Accordion',‘Early Cascade'; basil ‘Spicy Globe'
Fix: Heirloom Tomato Stack with Pine Nut-Raisin Confit
"You can orchestrate tomatoes the way a conductor works a group of musicians. Each is different, but the marvel of the tomato is how it hits all the keys of taste and pleasure, from upping serotonin levels to being the queen of umami. These three give an idea of what a tomato can be: Chris's Urkraine is the ultimate black tomato --voluptuous and opulent like a great Bordeaux.
Pink Accordian looks like no other tomato and tastes like high summer to me - lush yet bright and fresh.
Early Cascade is the Beethoven's Fifth of the tomato world with high acid and high sugar. This is my sauce tomato.
Spicy Globe Basil is one of the best-kept secrets of Sicily -- try it in pesto."
Broder's Pasta Bar
Harvest: Eggplant, bell peppers, purple basil
Fix: Caponata Umbrian Style
"This favorite of mine has the richness of a meat dish, so it's good as a main course. And it's tremendously versatile - works beautifully as appetizer, in soup, to top pizza or on pasta. Flavorful, nutritious - fantastic summer eating!"
Harvest: Sweet potatoes, ground cherries
Fix: Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Ground Cherry Chutney
"When I was young, I helped my grandmother in her garden and I remember asking her about this odd looking plant. She told me to pop one in my mouth, and that was my first ground cherry. It was an explosion of flavors, started out tangy, savory, fruity and a hint of tomato. I thought it was the best thing I ever ate! Serve the chutney with roasted sweet potatoes for a great contrast."
Local Organic Grower & Restaurant Supplier
Harvest: Corn ‘Northstine Dent', bean ‘Hidatsa Shield'
Fix: Polenta with Maple Syrup, Best Tasting Beans Ever
"I couldn't pick just one, so here are a couple of our all-time favorites. Summer turns to fall, and you know what follows. Polenta is for cold windy days, it's sunshine in a bowl. The beans are a wonderful simple dish, made from a North Dakota native pole bean variety."
The Craftsman Restaurant
Harvest: Kohlrabi, nasturtiums
Fix: Kohlrabi Olive Oil Puree
"This is so simple to do - just take fresh kohlrabi and emulsify it in olive oil. The sauce is fantastic with grilled fish or grilled sausage. You can serve the sautéed green leaves from the kohlrabi alongside. Tuck a few just-picked nasturtiums on the plate for a ‘pop' of summer color and their nice tang. Enjoy!"
Harvest: Bottle gourd (alternative: patty pan squash or zucchini), Thai chili peppers, garlic
Fix: Bottle Gourd Stir-fry
"What a delight to discover the bottle gourd at the Minneapolis Farmers Market! It instantly took me back to meals of my childhood, when my family of 11 members gathered to share a dinner of julienne bottle gourd stir-fry. I appreciate this dish not only for its taste but for how economical it is. One gourd, when chopped, will fill a large platter.
The sweet, simple flavor of the bottle gourd combined with cellophane noodles, shrimp and green onions, plus the bite of diced chile peppers in soy sauce on the side...fantastic."