The markets are really booming with fresh produce now. I love this time of year. Everything is so fresh and tasty that it doesn't take much effort or many complicated ingredients to make your dinner delicious. I especially like the ease of creating dishes with fresh herbs for a truly seasonal flavor.
Our backyard herb batch has been a great asset, even our basil is doing well. I mention the basil for several reasons. First, because it is a mainstay herb of summer and makes a nice complement to the veggies you pick up at the farmer's market. But, also because apparently a fungus is attacking and killing basil plants across the country. It isn't toxic to humans, but it can make for a disappointing harvest. It is impacting growers across the country, so you may see less fresh sweet basil in your markets or your backyard.
If you are lucky enough to snag some fresh basil, however, chop it up and add it to a saute of summer squash and zucchini. It is a quick side dish for grilling since it only takes about 5 minutes on the stove top. Then, you can go right back to enjoying the long summer evenings...
Zucchini and Summer Squash Saute
Makes 3 to 4 servings
1 large zucchini
2 small yellow summer squash
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
Slice zucchini and squash into matchstick pieces.
Lightly mix first four ingredients in a bowl.
Heat olive oil in medium saute pan. Add ingredients from bowl and saute gently stirring until slightly soft and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
VARIATIONS: You can easily vary the proportions to make more or less depending on how many folks you want to serve. This recipe can also take on other flavors...you could add garlic or hot peppers or change the fresh herb to oregano, dill, or mint. It is also delicious with the addition of fresh tomatoes.
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