Here’s a simple, flavorful dish suitable for a quick weeknight supper that takes only around 45 minutes from start to finish.
Though our Midwestern constitutions don’t always feel at home in the South, we fully appreciate just how lucky we are to live on the Atlantic shore where seafood is not only abundant but caught-that-morning fresh. Today’s bowl of goodness features briny sweet NC littlenecks, but takes its inspiration from memories of travelling to two other coastal areas.
First are Roaring Water Bay mussels that we steamed in a heady Sligo County brew with bacon and cabbage. A feast taken watching the moon rise over the inky black waters of Baltimore, County Cork, Ireland. The other, cherrystone clams cooked with garlic, chillies, lemon and a splash of a local white wine. In the postcard village of Lubec, ME, perched at the northeastern tip of the US, it was a meal prepared in the shared kitchen of our inn and enjoyed in our room overlooking the Quoddy Narrows and Canada in the distance.
“Knee-high by the Fourth of July,” or so the old corn farming adage goes.
Growing up in the upper Midwest, where there are only a handful of months in which farmers could plant, cultivate and harvest, you quickly learn — and learn to anticipate — when each of these precious few crops is ready and at its peak. Here in the south, the lines blur as the growing season is twice that of my former home, if not more.
Still, no matter how quickly the stalks rise skyward, the first ears of ripe sweet corn in our kitchen will always signal it’s truly the height of summer. And this year, our corn is homegrown! A deliciously successful garden experiment.
Being that the heat and humidity practically shout that it is high season, you may be thinking, stew?! I love a good chilled gazpacho (this refreshed us twice earlier in the month), but for me, warm and cozy bowls of stews and soups are equally as satisfying any time of the year. Besides, there’s science behind heating to cool.
A salsa is only as good as its components, and our favorite green salsa is as good — and simple — as it gets.
Broiler (or grill) blistered tomatillos, jalapeño and garlic are blended with fresh cilantro. Then, minced raw onion gets stirred in just before serving to add texture. The result is bold, vibrant and almost fruity; not too spicy; perfect consistency to dunk into or spoon over.
I’m posting a couple days earlier than usual to share this no-cook summer dish ahead of the upcoming Independence Day holiday — a recipe that is, and forever will be, a summertime staple on my family table. (Hi, Dad!)
Crisp cucumber and vidalia onion slices are a classic pair tossed in vinegar and dill, with just a bit of salt and sugar to balance. Flowering season of our garden chives winding down, I took the liberty of embellishing mine with crushed blossoms for color and flavor.