I love the idea of eating fruit and vegetables in season. They taste better, they have traveled less distance than their out-of-season counterparts (in most cases, anyway), and they pair well with other in-season foods. Luckily, the stores here are pretty good at stocking seasonal produce on their shelves. But just to be extra sure that I am getting the best of what’s in season, I buy my fruit and veg from a local growers’ market.
Lately we have been enjoying delicious summer vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini and my favorite summer herb, basil. With an abundance of zucchini in the fridge I turned to my cookbooks for inspiration. Stephanie Alexander (The Cook’s Companion), David Herbert (The Really Useful Cookbook), and Alan Campion and Michelle Curtis (In The Kitchen) all offered interesting ideas and luckily I had enough zucchini to go around.
One: Pasta by Stephanie Alexander
Slice zucchini in to rounds and gently sauté with a couple of cloves of garlic in a little olive oil. Cook pasta, drain and stir through the zucchini along with plenty of torn basil and freshly grated Parmesan.
Two: Summer vegetable gratin inspired by David Herbert
Layer thin slices of zucchini, eggplant and tomato in a baking dish. Sprinkle fresh thyme and grated Parmesan throughout and bake in a preheated 180C oven for 40 minutes. Serve warm.
Three: Frittata inspired by Alan Campion and Michele Curtis
In an oven-proof fry pan gently sauté thin slices of zucchini. Add slices of cooked potato and gently warm through. Lightly beat 6 eggs with a sprinkle of chopped fresh herbs (I used thyme) and pour over the zucchini and potato. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes then pop in to preheated 190C oven for 15 minutes or until egg is cooked through. Carefully turn out on to a plate to serve.