Last week I had the opportunity to stroll through the Union Square Greenmarket with Min Kong, the Chef de Cuisine of Little Park restaurant in NYC. The summer bounty is currently at its peak, and we were both giddy over the gorgeous produce that surrounded us at every vendor. Check out my visual diary of our market visit with tips, recipes, and nutrition tidbits highlighting summertime goodness.
Avocado squash is similar in taste and texture to your typical green summer squash, but creamier. Chef Min is currently featuring it carpaccio style with arugula pesto, pistachios, and chili. Summer squash is the perfect remedy for a quick and raw dinner when it is just too hot to turn on the stove. Rich in Vitamin C, squash is the perfect vegetable for your spiralizer. Try it in:
August is peak tomato season, and the picking right now is amazing. My favorite variety are the bright orange sungolds which are bite size, juicy, and sweet! Chef Min is currently turning the tomatoes into a marinara and serving it with zucchini and ricotta salata. Tomatoes are bursting with nutrition. They contain Vitamins A, C, and K, are antioxidants, and are loaded with phytonutritents. Try them in:
Crunchy and cute, kirby cucumbers are the perfect snack or addition to your salad. They are also super simple to pickle. Cucumbers are very low in calories and contain a large amount of water. They also contain magnesium and Vitamin C. Try them in:
Stone fruit are one of my most favorite things about summer - and nothing beats bitting into a juicy sweet peach. Peaches contain immune boosting Vitamin C as well as Vitamin A, which is essential for healthy vision, and potassium, which assists in regulating blood pressure. Try them in:
Summer and corn are synonymous. I always get excited when corn starts popping up at the greenmarket. Although I to try use fresh produce creatively, there truly is nothing better than simply grilled corn on the cob with a little butter and a touch of salt. Corn is a source of insoluable fiber - which is why you may see the kernals reappear a few hours later :) Try and opt for organic or NOFA (if you are in NY) to avoid GMO varieties. Try corn in:
Strawberry season is almost over but, if you can, snag a pint or two of local berries and enjoy them in their natural state or sliced over granola, yogurt, or even in a green salad. Strawberries are loaded with antioxidants, which fight off damaging free radicals, Vitamin C, and potassium. Try them in:
I pass Hyssop quite often at one particular stand at the greenmarket, but Chef Min encouraged me to try it out. Hyssop is an herb which is part of the mint family and has an annise/licorice-like taste. Chef Min is using it as a garnish for a marinated eggplant and burrata salad with pickled pepper. Hyssop is also used to make tea to combat cold and throat ailments. Try hyssop in a sun brewed iced tea or top your next summer salad with it!
Shelling beans are another delicacy which hit the market in the summer. I absolutely love the taste of them - peeling the beans, not so much. Beans contain folate, protein, and non-heme iron. To properly prep favas, remove the beans from the shell, blanch in salted boiling water for 30 seconds, submerge in an ice bath, and remove the waxy coating that surrounds each bean. They are then ready for your recipe. Try them in:
Thanks Chef Min for the fabulous veg sesh.