market-supper.jpgSummer’s bounty is upon us in full force, demanding our attention, and there is nothing I like more than a simple farmers’ market supper — as fresh as you can get, barely cooked, with very little fuss.

I’ve compiled some of my favorite market meals of late here. These are not so much recipe as they are ideas, so there may or may not be exact measurements because frankly, when you are doing something this simple, you really don’t need a recipe. Don’t be intimidated by cooking like this, just keep tasting as you go…

Caprese salad
Slice ripe tomatoes and fresh buffalo milk mozzarella and layer on a plate. Sprinkle with thin ribbons of basil, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle with a gorgeous olive oil.

Caprese bruschetta
Brush slices of levain bread with olive oil and toast in the oven or under the broiler. Top with slices of fresh mozzarella and chopped cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with thin ribbons of basil, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle with more olive oil.

Figs and proscuitto
Cut very ripe figs in half lengthwise and drape with thin slices of prosciutto. The prosciutto-fruit pairing also works exceedingly well with sliced nectarines, peaches, and cantalope.

Zucchini salad
Using a vegetable peeler, shave long shards of zucchini or summer squash (or a mixture) into a bowl. Toss with lemon juice, olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. The lemon juice will help “cook” the zucchini. I also like to add shards of aged pecorino or Parmesan, or crumbled fresh goat’s cheese and toasted almonds.

Fresh pesto
Blanch a large bunch of basil leaves. Add to a food processor with 1 garlic clove, lightly toasted pine nuts, shredded Parmesan and chop finely. Drizzle in olive oil until it’s a nice consistency. Toss with warm pasta and julienned zucchini. Sprinkle some more toasted pine nuts on top for garnish.

Salad with nectarines
Toss together butter lettuce, sliced nectarines, toasted almonds, and fresh goat’s cheese. Drizzle with some olive oil and champagne vinegar, and grind some black pepper on top.

Green goddess
In a blender, puree 1/2 avocado, some basil leaves, the juice of 1/2 lime, about 1/4 cup thick plain yogurt, a splash of white wine vinegar. Drizzle in about 1/4 cup of olive oil with the blender running. If the dressing doesn’t emulsify, put it in a bowl and whisk it together. If it’s too thick, add a little water. Season it to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss it with really fresh butter lettuce and julienned raw zucchini.

Zucchini blossoms
Gently stuff fresh zucchini blossoms with sheep’s milk ricotta or fresh farmers’ cheese. Dust with flour and fry in about 1/4-inch of hot olive oil just until golden. Top with chopped basil and serve.

Grilled stone fruits
Stone fruits—peaches, nectarines, pluots, apricots, and plums—are fantastic when grilled. Cut them in half, remove the pit, and brush them with a light oil. Grill both sides just until they start to get tender. Don’t use overly ripe fruit. Serve these alongside roast or grilled pork or chicken, or as dessert with whipped cream or crème fraiche.

Hopefully some of these ideas with spark your imagination and you’ll just start experimenting in the kitchen with whatever gorgeous fruits and vegetables you bring home from the market. Keep it simple, and let the flavors of the season star, and it’s hard to go wrong.

Market Suppers 24 July,2008Kim Laidlaw

  • After visiting the farmers market and loading up on squash. I made a squash and sauteed corn crostini, a squash puree topped with some fresh corn. Another way to use all that bountiful squash. You have great ideas!

  • Baby tomatoes – slice into half, marinate with salt and mustard and put in fridge until serving. Make a great salad on a hot night.

  • Lemon won’t “cook” zucchini. Acids will only “cook” foods that have proteins to denature.

  • Love the zucchini salad idea, Kim!


Kim Laidlaw

Kim Laidlaw is a cookbook author, editor, food writer, producer, project manager, and baker who has been in the kitchen covered in flour since she was big enough to stir the biscuit dough. She has over 16 years of experience in book and online publishing, and a lifetime of experience in the kitchen.

Her first cookbook, Home Baked Comfort, was published in 2011; her second cookbook, Baby & Toddler On the Go, was published in April 2013; and her third cookbook, Williams-Sonoma Dessert of the Day, was published in October 2013.

She was the first blogger on KQED’s Bay Area Bites blog, which launched in 2005, and previously worked as a professional baker at La Farine French Bakery in Oakland, CA. She lives in Petaluma with her husband and their child, whom she cooks for everyday. Find out more at

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