Hot, hot, hot is all I have to say! We have so much amazing produce and fruit in the market, there is simply no reason to get hot in the kitchen. The stuff that is coming out of the ground right now is super-sweet and needs no heat intervention.
Okay, call me crazy but go ahead and blanch your beans, if necessary. But there is simply no quicker way to heat up a room than to set a saucepot of water to boil. Take my word for it. I live in the kitchen and just one of the reasons I love my refrigerator…instant air conditioning.
Steam is not your friend at this time of the year, air conditioning or not, especially if the case is NOT! If you have an electric tea kettle, poach the slender beans in the hot water until they turn one shade brighter, about 5 minutes, then drain. Or you could microwave them in a little bit of water for about 3 to 4 minutes.
Heirloom tomatoes are just starting to come into their prime with their subtle nuances in flavor, and the best way to eat them is NOT to cook them. Slice and enjoy and embrace their taste differences, from one variety to the next.
Then there is summer corn…I’m not sure why, but people feel compelled to cook it before eating…they cannot help themselves. Maybe it’s the appeal of rolling the ear in butter that people just can’t resist. If it is bought locally and freshly picked, corn is at the height of its sweetness with great popping crunch, so please, please, resist and just say no. (However I do have to admit it is super-delicious cooked, with a sprinkle of sea salt and fresh pepper, but let’s table that idea in this heat.)
Fresh corn, shucked and removed from the cob, is one of life’s greatest pleasures. That sweet kernel crunch and pop you get when you bite into a nugget, well, it just doesn’t get better than that.
Then there are the herbs…it’s that fresh hit that sometimes, when you are eating something, it just propels the dish right over the top. It is the transformative ingredient that makes a dish sing! I have written in the recipe that that the herbs are optional but I really don’t mean it…if you are NOT growing some kind of herb, I bet your neighbor is and I will wager that they would be happy to share!
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Tomato, Corn, Green Bean and Goat Cheese Salad
3/4 pound sliced heirloom tomatoes
2 ounces green and yellow beans, poached in hot water or microwave
1 ear of super-fresh corn, shucked and kernels cut from the cob
1 ounce goat cheese or feta, crumbled
1 tablespoon mixed minced fresh herbs such as small mint, basil and tarragon leaves, optional
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Sprinkle of sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Layer all ingredients in a serving dish. Leftovers, if there are any, are great tossed in hot pasta or in a sandwich.
Note: to poach the beans, pour boiling water over it and let the beans sit in the hot water for 5 minutes, or microwave in a little water for 3 or 4 minutes.
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