How To Make A Summer Farmer’s Market Feast

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It’s August and you have no excuse: tomatoes and peaches are calling. Not the ones with little stickers on them at the supermarket, but the superior, positively bursting-with-summer ones you’ll find at your farmer’s market. “Ugh, but do I really have to go to a farmer’s market?” If that’s you, listen up: yes you do. And I’m going to walk you through it, tell you what to buy, in order to make an incredible Summer Farmer’s Market Feast for six. Are you ready? Let’s do it.

First order of business: heirloom tomatoes.

They’ve become something of a fad, these past few years, and now almost every farmer’s market carries them. Buy an assorted mixture of purples and yellows and reds and also some heirloom cherry tomatoes and bring those home along with fresh basil.

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Then, when you go to the supermarket to supplement your farmer’s market shopping, buy ricotta salata (or a firm goat’s cheese will do) and sourdough bread for making croutons. When you get home, cut the bread into little cubes, toss them on a cookie sheet with olive oil, salt and pepper and pop them into a 350 oven, tossing every so often, until they’re crispy and golden brown.

To assemble your salads, cut some tomatoes into wedges, some into slices and toss in a bowl with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Arrange the tomatoes on plates, add some of the basil (torn up), the croutons and shave the ricotta salata on top. Behold!

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Everyone smiles when they see that.

As for your Summer Farmer’s Market Feast entree, you can really do no better than my friend Morgan’s white lasagna. I’ve made it before to great fanfare but this time I made it extra farmer’s markety by using zucchini that I bought at the market…

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But the key step was making the pesto from scratch using farmer’s market basil…

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That took the whole thing over the top: you can see it being assembled here.

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Have that ready to go (you’ll have to supplement your farmer’s market trip with lasagna noodles and cheese from the store) and then you only need to make dessert. That’s when you use your stone fruit.

I made a nectarine and plum crisp with oatmeal streusel that I found on Food & Wine’s site.

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The recipe almost doesn’t matter though: just toss whatever fruit looks good with some sugar and corn starch and then top it with any crumble topping you like. Then bake.

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People went really nuts for this dessert and it couldn’t have been simpler.

Which proves my point: it’s August and the farmer’s market is calling your name. Go now, make this dinner and be happy.

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