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If you have a perfectly ripe melon—great! If you don’t, no worries. The salt, acid, and a bit of heat here will give life to lackluster specimens.
- ¼ 3-pound honeydew, rind and seeds removed, sliced ¼ inch thick
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1½ cups basil leaves, torn if large
- 1 teaspoon Maras red pepper flakes or ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 350°. Toast pistachios on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 6–8 minutes; let cool. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and pound until mostly finely ground but with a few coarse pieces left. (You can also put them in a zip-top bag and use a flat-bottomed mug or rolling pin to break them up.) Transfer to a small bowl.
Remove stalks from fennel bulb, then remove fronds from stalks. Finely chop fronds until you have a small handful (about ⅓ cup), transfer to bowl with nuts, and stir in oil. Season pistachio oil with salt. Cut fennel bulb in half lengthwise. Using a mandoline, shave fennel crosswise. Shave fennel stalks crosswise.
Place melon and shaved fennel in a large bowl and finely grate zest from lemon over, then squeeze juice into bowl. Drizzle with vinegar and season with salt; toss salad to combine. Add basil and gently toss again just to distribute basil.
Arrange half of salad on a platter; drizzle with some reserved pistachio oil. Top with remaining salad and drizzle with more pistachio oil. Sprinkle with Maras pepper.
Use your fresh fruit to the fullest with these 10 unique recipes
It’s the time of year when everything bursts into bloom (sorry, seasonal allergy sufferers), and that includes fresh produce of all kinds. Peak-season fruit is delicious enough to be eaten on its own, of course, but we have a trove of recipes that take a commonly available fruit and transform it into something entirely unexpected. This season, why not try eating your favorite fruits pickled, or dusted with spices, or layered into a trifle? Read on for some of The Takeout’s best and most inventive fruit recipes.
Note to desktop users: If you’d like to view this story in a scrolling layout, you can narrow your browser window. You can also click “List Slides” at any time to see the full list and navigate to particular recipes.
- 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp ouzo
- 10 g oregano
- bowl (small)
To make the dressing, combine vinegar, oil, and ouzo in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Pluck oregano leaves.
For the Vegetables:
1/2 medium zucchini, sliced into thin disks
1/2 medium yellow squash, sliced into thin disks
1 medium eggplant, peeled, sliced, and lightly salted let the eggplant sit on paper towels for about 1/2 hour, then rinse and pat dry
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
2 red bell peppers, or 1 red and 1 yellow or orange, seeded and sliced
Olive oil for dressing the vegetables
Salt and freshly ground pepper
A few roasted tomatoes, optional
2 to 3 quarts tomato sauce, organic if possible
1 bunch Swiss chard, tough leaves and ribs trimmed away, washed and thinly shredded
Olive oil, for the chard and pans
1 lb precooked lasagna noodles (see box for guidance) or fresh lasagna noodles
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
For the Cheese Filling:
3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 bunch basil, cut into chiffonade
Leaves from 5 sprigs thyme
Thoroughly combine the ingredients for the cheese filling.
Assemble the lasagna: Lightly cover the bottom of the pan with one-third of the tomato sauce. Lay three pieces of pasta side by side over the sauce. Spread about one-third of the cheese filling over the pasta (you might find it helpful to use your fingers). Add another layer of pasta, then another third of the tomato sauce, then about half the prepared vegetables. Layer on another third of the cheese filling, another layer of pasta, and the remaining vegetables if you have kept the chard separate, lay the strips over the vegetables. Add the remaining cheese filling, cover it with the remaining tomato sauce, and sprinkle the mozzarella evenly on top. Lay the sliced tomatoes evenly across the top and sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Cover the dish loosely with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, turn the temperature up to 375 degrees, and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and let it rest before cutting and serving.
The Key to Better Fruit Salad Isn't More Sweetness
It's, well, the opposite. End summer on a delicious note with this genius tweak.
Nope, we’re not going to tell you to eat all of the heirloom tomatoes. Or crunchy cucumbers. Or ears of buttery corn. Because we’re guessing you’re already doing that, right? The dish that we want you to make before the summer’s over is. drumroll. fruit salad! But not just any fruit salad — savory fruit salad.
Forget everything (well, most things) that "fruit salad" brings to mind. The excessive chunks of unripe cantaloupe and honeydew. The occasional halved grape that the person before you didn’t see first. The sweet orange juice dressing. The mint leaf garnish. That’s your mom’s version of fruit salad, and you’re your own person, darn it.
This summer is all about sweet-and-savory fruit salads. They take a cue from the dessert world, in which sweet and savory combinations have recently blown up (is it even a cookie if it doesn’t have flaky salt on top?).
Let’s kick off this conversation by discussing the modern fruit salad's base. Don’t limit yourself to, well, fruit. To help you reposition the dish, think of it as "salad with fruit in it." Slicing up some ripe and juicy melon? Consider throwing in some crunchy sliced Persian cucumbers or fennel too. Have a few gorgeous peaches? Mix in some sliced heirloom tomatoes, torn Castelvetrano olives or radicchio leaves. Starting with a huge watermelon? It loves to be paired with something spicy, like thinly sliced serrano peppers.
Think about adding a variety of interesting textures to your fruit salad. Creamy or flaky cheeses, from burrata to aged Parmesan are great mix-ins. As are crunchy toppers, like chopped peanuts, pistachios and even sesame seeds.
Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad
4 cups of red leaf salad, or leafy spring greens
1 medium red onion, sliced
6 to 8 ounces goat cheese
1 cup farro or wheat berries, cooked
Raw Honey Vinaigrette
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Make the vinaigrette by adding vinegar, oil, and honey to a jar, cover and shake to combine, and set aside.
Next take the goat cheese and shape into small balls, about 1 inch round, and set aside.
Toast cooked wheat berry in one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until fragrant, about 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
Start building the fresh salad by first spreading the leafy greens over a salad platter. Next add the sliced red onion, then the sliced fennel, and lastly the chopped basil.
Chop the basil last as it can brown after the inner parts of the leaf act with the air.
It is better to tear the leaves apart, but if you act quickly, you can use a knife to cut several at a time.
As shown in the image, we collected together three leaves, rolled them up and made 4 or 5 slices across the rolled basil.
The process can go fast, and the basil will not brown. Make sure though, the knife you will use to cut the basil is sharp.
After building the salad take the goat cheese balls, and roll them in the toasted wheat berries and arrange them on the salad platter.
Next add the raspberries, and drizzle the Raw Honey Vinaigrette over the salad. Plate and serve.
Assembling Your Melon Salad
You’ll start by decoratively placing half the ribbons on the plate, then top with lime zest, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, flaky salt, chopped pistachios, and some of the reserved herbs. Repeat once more, adding the lime juice when you add the zest and finishing the salad with a healthy pinch of urfa biber chile flake. Depending on the variety you use, the olive oil will either lend bitter notes (that’s a good thing!) or a more fruity flavor, so use one you love the taste of.
Don’t be afraid to take this salad in a whole different direction. Layer the melon with cucumber ribbons or thin strips of prosciutto. Add chunks of feta or goat cheese or a swoop of Greek yogurt. If you’ve found you’ve chosen a less sweet melon (it happens to the best of us!), drizzle with some honey. I guarantee any of these combinations will convert my fellow melon-haters.
At Kitchn, our editors develop and debut brand-new recipes on the site every single week. But at home, we also have our own tried-and-true dishes that we make over and over again — because quite simply? We love them. Kitchn Love Lettersis a series that shares our favorite, over-and-over recipes.
Start by washing and selecting your greens and herbs. Next, thinly slice your fennel root and radishes, and place them in a bowl of water and lemon juice until you’re ready.
For the avocado purée, mash (or blend) avocado until it’s smooth, then stir in a few drops of soy sauce (not too much), very finely minced ginger, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper.
Make a simple vinaigrette by whisking together olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.
Lastly, finely slice some tomato, then arrange your salad anyway you like, and finish with your avocado, and vinaigrette.
Honeydew and Fennel Salad with Basil - Recipes
When it comes to basil, purple is the new green.
Got (or want) basil in your garden? You'll find links to all of my basil growing posts, as well as more of my favorite basil recipes, at the end of this post.
2011 Update: Farmgirl Fare readers offer up even more ways to use fresh basil here.
I have no idea how it happened, but spring 2007 found me and my kitchen garden completely basilless. Thankfully a gardening friend—whose tiny city garden I usually supply with plants—was kind enough to share a couple of basil seedlings with me, including a purple one.
I'm not very adventurous when it comes to herbs, and I'd never grown purple basil, but begging gardeners can't be choosers so I gratefully took what he offered and stuck it in the ground.
The purple basil plant flourished. It was gorgeous, but I didn't know what to do with it. I love fresh basil in all kinds of dishes, and I loved the color of these leaves, especially how they're outlined in green, but the thought of blackish purple basil pesto—or blackish purple basil anything for that matter—just didn't seem appealing.
My dear friend Kat, who writes the scrumptious blog, She's In The Kitchen, suggested I make basil vinegar with it: You fill a large jar with half white vinegar, half cider vinegar, stuff it with purple basil, and let it steep for a week. Then you strain it and pour the resulting gorgeous magenta vinegar into a pretty bottle with a few sprigs of fresh basil.
That sounded nice, but I wasn't sure what I would do with the vinegar either.
First harvest of the 2011 season: a pound of Red Rubin basil from three plants.
I decided to appeal to my garden blog readers, begging them to tell me what they would do if they had a beautiful purple basil plant in their garden. They quickly came to my rescue with all sorts of delicious ideas, including:
—Add it to a white bean salad with some red peppers and green onions
—Throw it into a pot of beans, tomatoes, potatoes, zuchinni, and onion
—Put it in a red sauce made from fresh tomatoes
—Garnish anything that the flavor of basil will complement
—Stir into a slaw of chopped carrots, fennel bulb, and garlic just before serving
—Make purple basil lemonade or, better still, purple basil watermelon/honeydew melon agua fresca
Soilman in England suggested I put it in Mussels à l'Italienne and even offered up his recipe: Chopped onions sweated in olive oil for a few minutes. Add a few glugs of white wine and lots of chopped tomatoes plus tomato purée. Pour your mussels (cleaned and de-bearded) in, cover and cook for 5-10 minutes. Put into bowls with lots of chopped purple basil.
I couldn't wait to tell my city friend that I'd figured out what we could do with our purple basil. He listened patiently with a slight smile on his face as I recounted all these creative ideas. Then he said, "I turned mine into pesto."
"It was the best basil pesto I've ever had."
"It was like pesto on steroids."
"And it wasn't even that weird of a color."
So I skipped all the wonderful suggestions and turned my entire purple basil plant into the best pesto I've ever tasted instead.
Homemade purple basil pesto on homemade pizza (my easy pizza dough recipe is here)
Farmgirl Susan's Low Fat, Full Flavor Purple Basil Pesto
Makes about 1½ cups
This lower fat, reduced calorie pesto, which calls for less olive oil than most recipes, is bursting with freshly picked garden flavor. The tomatoes are a healthy way to replace some of the olive oil while adding a subtle new flavor.
When portioning out basil (and so many other ingredients), it works best if you weigh it rather than pack it into measuring cups. A digital kitchen scale is a worthwhile and useful investment, and once you have one you may wonder how you ever lived without it. I often use my Oxo 11-pound kitchen scale several times a day. The pull-out display is awesome, and it's also great for weighing outgoing packages.
Don't have any purple basil? Just use green instead!
1/2 cup (about 2½ ounces) roasted & salted whole almonds
3 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled
4 ounces fresh purple (or green) basil leaves (about 4 cups packed)
1 ounce (about 1/2 cup) finely grated Pecorino Romano (or other hard cheese)
10 ounces fresh tomatoes (about 3 smallish) any kind, quartered
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more to taste
In the bowl of a food processor use the S-blade to whiz the almonds and garlic until finely chopped.
Add the basil, cheese, tomatoes, and salt, and process until thoroughly combined and the consistency you like.
With the motor running running, slowly drizzle the olive oil through the chute. Add more salt to taste if desired. Store your pesto in the refrigerator for several days or freeze.
Except for the fact that purple basil isn't as pretty as the green and does make a rather oddly colored pesto (as you can see in the photo above), I would probably quit growing the green stuff altogether. Mixing a few green leaves into the pesto does help brighten it up a bit.
Unfortunately my friend couldn't remember what kind of purple basil we were growing, so I figure I'll just work my way through every purple variety I can find and do some scientific taste comparisons. There are even certain types of basil plants that are half purple and half green.
I didn't forget to plant basil seeds this year, though I did get a rather late start. Five different types of basil, including Purple Ruffles and Purple Osmin, plus a mixed variety surprise pack are just now sprouting in little containers, but I have high hopes for a bumper summer crop. (And besides, my tomatoes won't be ready for ages either.) 2011 Update: I had really good luck growing Red Rubin basil (see photo above).
I might even turn part of my purple basil harvest into something other than pesto. But don't hold your breath, especially since I've discovered such a delicious way to use it.
Homemade pita chips: tastier than store bought & made in minutes
Really Easy White Bean Pesto Dip / Spread
Opening a bag of cheez doodles and pouring them into a bowl would probably be a slightly easier appetizer to make than this, but they wouldn't taste nearly as good - or be as good for you. This stuff isn't exactly beautiful, but trust me when I say that no one will notice.
The consistency of this spread will vary depending on the type of beans you use, how well you drain them after rinsing, and the thickness of your pesto. I made one batch with Great Northern beans and a slightly thinner pesto and ended up with a dip rather than a spread.
If it's too thick for your liking, simply thin it out with a little olive oil or water.
Cans of organic beans are an organic bargain and a handy staple in my farmhouse pantry I buy them by the case. I really like Eden Organic brand beans, which are organically grown in the U.S.A. on family farms, have no salt added (I prefer to add my own), and are packed in BPA-free cans.
1 15-ounce can organic white beans, such as cannellini (also called white kidney beans), drained and rinsed
1/2 cup homemade or purchased basil pesto
1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano or other hard Italian cheese
Salt to taste
Combine beans, pesto, and cheese in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the 'S' blade and whiz until smooth. Salt to taste.
Serve with pita chips (check out my easy recipes for homemade pita chips and pita bread, plus easy pita pizzas), crackers, raw veggies, or a spoon.
This spread improves with age, so try to make it a day ahead. Of course then you'll also have to try not to gobble it all up before serving time comes, but fortunately the recipe can easily be doubled.
After coming up with this recipe while my foodie mom was visiting last fall, I've become slightly obsessed with white bean dips. Sometimes I even have them as a main course (because I eat so much I don't have any room left for the actual main course).
It turns out that almost anything can be successfully mixed with a can of white beans (where have I been?), and I'll be sharing some of my other favorite creations soon.
Mango and Red Onion Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
My favorite way to come up with a nightly special is to stroll through a market. I scour the aisles not just for what’s available but for what’s in absolute peak condition, crying out to be prepared and eaten within the next few hours. Were I to encounter a perfectly ripe mango, my inclination would be not to use it in a dessert, where most people expect to find fruit, but as an appetizer. Fruit salad has become an unfortunate icon of menus and recipes gone bad think of all the processed or canned fruit salads you’ve been served. If you take the time to create your own fruit salad, making thoughtful decisions and enthusiastically celebrating the fruit, you upend convention. That’s what we’re doing here by combining ripe fruit with savory ingredients like onion, lime juice, and watercress. I’ve included a useful technique for dicing a mango, but if you prefer to simply peel, pit, and slice it, that’s fine, too.
This refreshing salad is a fine first course and is just as good as a side dish that makes grilled meat and fish come alive. Keep this in mind to serve with Mustard-Glazed Beef Short Ribs.
Sicilian-Style Citrus and Onion Salad: Red onion plays very well off citrus fruits. There’s a classic Sicilian salad of thinly sliced fennel, red onion, and blood oranges that’s simply dressed with a sprinkle of salt and a drop of extra virgin olive oil. Follow that by replacing the mangoes with 3 oranges, 4 nectarines, or 2 large grapefruit. Separate the fruit into sections rather than chop it and remove the seeds with a knife tip. In the summer, use peaches, nectarines, black plums, or figs. In the late summer, turn to half a honeydew melon, or half a cantaloupe, and if you like, toss in ½ cup diced Smithfield ham for a salty counterpoint. In the fall or winter, replace the mangoes with 4 ripe, sweet apples or Asian pears. Other tropical fruits work just as well in this recipe. Opt for papaya, sliced star fruit, sliced kiwi fruit, diced pineapple, or a combination, depending on what’s available. For a spicier salad, add 1 or more teaspoons seeded, minced jalapeno to the bowl along with the onion in step 2.
To make the salad more of a meal, add slices of half an avocado to each serving, slicing and fanning them out alongside or underneath the salad slice up and toss in some cold, left over chicken or duck top it with grilled chicken breast or grilled shrimp.