It’s August this weekend, which to me represents the pinnacle of the year in terms of fresh, local, seasonal produce. You know how Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson have wedding season in Weddings Crashers? Well, I have August produce season. I get *that* excited.
Of course, note my location – I’m talking New England here, people. More specifically, New York and Connecticut. For us, that means sweet corn, the most flavorful tomatoes, zucchini and summer squash, and of course… STONE FRUIT. Aka my favorite fruit category of all time.
I love stone fruit so much that I actually pitched and wrote an entire article about it for Bashed last summer, you can check it out right here. I wrote all about what it is, how to buy and store it, how to cook with it, and some favorite recipe ideas as well, so I won’t repeat myself here on that topic. Thought I could easily write forever on it tbh.
Now, note that my short list of August seasonal produce above is by no means exhaustive, just indicative of a few personal favorites of mine. I actually was at United Brother’s market on Ditmars in Astoria on Sunday, and sampled some of the first true flavor bomb tomatoes of the summer. It was a marvelous moment to behold.
I pulled together a list of juicy recipes that showcase August seasonal produce as the stars of the show. The list is a combo of both my stand-bys that I’ve made myself, and recipes I have yet to try but have clipped and am SO excited to whip up this month. I divided it up by savory and sweet, so you can choose your own adventure and decide which flavor town you want to veer into on any given day this August.
Cucumber and Peach Salad – I’ve been making this salad for years, and it never gets old, boring, or stale. I love the crunch of the cucumbers paired with the sweetness of ripe peaches, a sour note from crumbled feta, and bright herbaceous bodaciousness from fresh mint and basil. The dressing is a simple vinegary shallot situation that compliments without overwhelming. It scales up or down easily, too.
Spiced Pickled Cherries – If y’all know me, you know that I’m a sucker for pickled… anything. If you can pickle it, I will eat it. Or at least try it. I’ve even made pickled hardboiled eggs before (don’t know them til you’ve tried them, folks). One recipe that I’ve had my eye on making is these pickled cherries, which are spruced up with coriander seeds in this recipe. Just think about how good these would be in your sandwich or salad for lunch.
Zucchini Frittata – I actually had a version of this zucchini frittata last weekend, and let me tell you, seasonal zucchini is such a superstar ingredient in a frittata. Not only are frittatas great for any meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, boom!), but you can really swap out ingredients to make use of anything you have on hand. We sauteed pancetta before adding the zucchini and shallot, and added crumbled goat cheese into the egg mixture before cooking. Summer squash would be great in here, too.
Arugula Corn and Herb Salad – My mom makes a variation on this salad every summer, so this feels super nostalgic and home-y for me. It is literally painstakingly simple – raw corn, peppery arugula, lots of fresh shaved parm, sweet tomatoes. It truly tastes like summer to me, and is a recipe you won’t need to use a recipe for, but can eyeball and it comes out great every time.
Tomato Galette – I made my first tomato galette a few years back while taking a pie-making course at Pie Corps in Brooklyn, and it blew me away. It was my first time using a pie crust for a savory situation, and I could not get enough. I love that this can be a simple lunch with a side salad, be brunch with an egg, or even dinner with a piece of meat. It happens to be pretty beautiful, too.
Plum Cobbler Bars – Full disclosure: I have yet to make these bars, but when I found the recipe I practically drooled on my phone. Plums are consumed nearly daily during August by yours truly, but a good plum dessert has always eluded me. These bars have a gorgeous buttery crumble topping, and look like they’d transport and keep well as the icing on the cake.
Sweet Corn Bundt Cake – Corn flavors dessert are particularly delicious to me, and over the years I’ve really sought out recipes that lean into them. I’ve made every variation on cornbread, cornmeal crumbles (great with strawberries and blueberries), and put fresh corn everywhere I can during its prime month. This sweet corn bundt cake is appealing to me because it uses fresh corn, is quite easy to make, and is topped with a salty brown butter glaze which legitimately turns me on.
Stone Fruit Compote – Move over, jam. This stone fruit compote is one of the simplest and most versatile condiments you can whip up over the summer. Choose your stone fruit of choice (I think that nectarines are most excellent here), and serve it with everything from oatmeal or plain Greek yogurt at breakfast, with your cheese board at cocktail hour, or over local ice cream for dessert.
Apricot Clafoutis – Clafoutis is one of those desserts that sounds super intimidating, but is a universal crowd-pleaser (for under 10 people), looks beautiful, and requires very little effort on your end for maximum return. No kidding, you literally make this in the blender. Clafoutis is essentially a baked custard that gets golden on the top, and this one has a layer of apricots across the bottom that get soft and sweet and perfect. Serve it alongside vanilla ice cream, or even an unsweetened whipped cream (my preference if you like less sweetness).