So much wonderful summer produce

Like so many other people, we are spending a lot of time at our local farmer’s markets.  We are very fortunate to have multiple markets within walking distance and on different days of the week.  The ability to shop for fresh produce more than once a week is a major win for those of us with very small kitchens which means limited refrigerator and counter space.  But even with limited space, there are always tomatoes on the counter during summer.  The strawberries this year have been incredibly good, perhaps even one of the best seasons we can remember.  Blueberries are now making an appearance along with peaches and nectarines so our breakfast options have suddenly become much more interesting.

We have also been trying out new produce and one includes an ingredient that was never particularly popular in our kitchen until recently – fennel.  After some discussion about the dislike of fennel, it may be possible that by having it frequently paired with raw onions, a food we avoid at all costs, perhaps fennel was just suffering from the onion fallout.  However, thanks to Jose Andres’ restaurant Jaleo in DC, fennel has suddenly become a star.  The dish that brought this ingredient into the limelight for us is a salad made of fennel and Granny Smith apples, a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil and salt all tossed with Manchego cheese and walnuts.  We have recreated the dish several times at home and provide at least our approximation here if you would like to give it a try.

 

Fennel Apple Salad Photo

 

Another recipe we just tried for the first time is for toasted bread rounds topped with sliced tomatoes, crumbled bacon, basil, blue cheese and a sherry vinegar dressing.  Definitely something that is just a bit over the top, but it is delicious.  Obviously you will want to use the best of summer’s tomatoes and some really good blue cheese.  We chose to use a whole grain flax bread as the base for our version and thought it worked perfectly.  Give this a try at the height of summer.

 

Photo of tomatoes on sliced bread