Dining In: An early summer menu from farmers market finds

The phrase “harvest time” is typically associated with fall and all the rich, golden hues of autumn fruits, flowers and vegetables. But early summer is another time for bountiful harvests and is one of our favorite seasons of the year to visit the Red Stick Farmers Market downtown. In May and June the market is bursting with beautiful fresh zucchini squash, jewel-toned peppers and eggplants and bright red Creole tomatoes.

In celebration of summer, we dedicated this menu to recipes that highlight the wonderful, fresh produce we have at our fingertips at the farmers market. Go check it out.

Bon appetit!


Recipes by Tracey Koch

• Flat Iron Steak Crostini with Creole Tomato Jam
• Zucchini Fritters with Creole Aioli
• Fresh Mint and Lemon-scented Peach Sorbet

20160413-AMY_8272 copyFlat Iron Steak Crostini with Creole Tomato Jam

Flat iron steak is a flavorful cut of beef that is great on the grill. It is best served thinly sliced and can be enjoyed in a number of ways. The herb mixture in this recipe is an easy marinade that enhances the flavor and makes this piece of steak taste very fresh. We recommend bringing the flat iron steak to room temperature before grilling to make sure it cooks evenly. To keep this lean piece of meat juicy, make sure not to overcook it and to let it rest at least 10 minutes before slicing it.

When paired with crusty bread and a sweet-and-tangy tomato jam (recipe follows) it makes a delicious gourmet sandwich and wonderful summer supper.

Servings: 6

2 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup olive oil
2-pound flat iron steak

1. In a shallow baking dish, combine the garlic, herbs, salt, pepper and olive oil.

2. Place the steak into this mixture and coat it on both sides.

3. Cover and allow the steak to marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.

4. Heat the grill to 425 degrees and place the steak on the grill. Close the lid and allow the steak to grill 6-7 minutes.

5. Flip the steak. Close the lid once again and continue to grill for an additional 4-5 minutes.

6. Remove the steak from the grill, place it on a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil for 10-15 minutes. Use a sharp carving knife to slice very thin.

20160413-AMY_8254 copyCreole Tomato Jam

Tomato jam is a classic condiment that is enjoying a comeback. We found recipes dating back to the 1840s for this condiment that is part jam, part tomato sauce. What makes it such a nice accompaniment to so many dishes is that it is both savory and slightly sweet. We like to include it on a cheese tray or spread it on sandwiches like a gourmet grilled cheese. This recipe is easy to double and will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Yields: 12 ounces

2 pounds ripe Creole tomatoes
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon smoked paprika

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

2. Cut a small slit at the top and bottom of each tomato and drop them gently into the boiling water. Boil the tomatoes 30 seconds to 1 minute or just until the skins begin to peel off.

3. Place 3-4 cups of ice into a large bowl. Use a slotted spoon to remove the tomatoes quickly from the boiling water and place them in the ice to stop them from cooking.

4. Peel the tomatoes and place them on a cutting board. Cut the tomatoes in half and seed them.

5. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and place them in a heavy sauce pot.

6. Pour the sugar, salt, vinegar, pepper flakes and paprika over the tomatoes and mix well to combine.

7. Allow the tomatoes to macerate for 10-15 minutes.

8. The juice from the tomatoes and the vinegar will have formed a liquid. Place the tomato mixture over medium-high heat and bring it up to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the liquid has evaporated.

9. Remove the reduced tomato jam from the heat and allow it to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Serve with cheeses or as a condiment for meats.

To make the crostini:

Grilled Flat Iron Steak, sliced thin
1 loaf crusty French bread, sliced into 2-inch thick slices and toasted
4 to 6 ounces Boursin, chive or goat cheese
1 cup Creole Tomato Jam
Chopped fresh parsley to top

1. To assemble the sandwiches, spread a little of the cheese over the toasted slices of French bread.

2. Place a couple of thin slices of the grilled steak on top of the cheese and then top each one with a dollop of the tomato jam.

3. Sprinkle each with a little fresh parsley and serve.

20160413-AMY_8265 copyZucchini Fritters with Creole Aioli

This time of year, fresh squash and zucchini are so plentiful and delicious. We love them grilled, sautéed, stewed or stir-fried. But with this zucchini fritter, we may have uncovered our favorite way to enjoy this versatile veggie. These fritters are light and crisp and make a fun little appetizer, but they’re a wonderful side dish as well. The Creole Aioli has the right amount of tang to elevate the delicate flavor of the fresh zucchini. The fritters are easy to make ahead of time and can be kept warm in the oven for 30 minutes until you are ready to serve.

Servings: 8-10 fritters, depending on size

1 pound zucchini
¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped green onions
1 egg slightly beaten
¼ cup olive oil

1. Grate the zucchini and place it into a colander lined with paper towels. Allow the grated zucchini to drain for 10 minutes.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cheese, salt and pepper.

3. Fold in the grated zucchini and chopped green onions. Stir in the egg until everything has just come together.

4. In a heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. To form the fritters, drop 2 tablespoons of the zucchini mixture into the hot oil. Use the back of the spoon to spread the fritters out a bit and fry them, 2-3 minutes per side.

5. Place the fritters on a paper towel to drain. Put them on a rack to prevent them from getting soggy.

6. Keep the fritters in a 300-degree oven to stay warm until you are ready to serve. These may be made 30 minutes in advance. Serve with the Creole Aioli.

To make the Creole Aioli:

Yields: 1 cup

1 cup mayonnaise
1 clove minced garlic
1 tablespoon Creole mustard
1 tablespoon horseradish sauce
¼ teaspoon Creole seasoning

1. In a small mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients.

2. Stir until everything is incorporated. Cover and chill until you are ready to serve.

20160413-AMY_8280 copyFresh Mint and Lemon-scented Peach Sorbet

Georgia may be known in the South for its wonderful peaches, but Louisiana can claim some bragging rights of its own. The season for fresh Louisiana peaches is not a long one, but this time of year the Red Stick Farmers Market has many vendors that offer delectable varieties of these little gems. We buy as many as we can when they are in season, and making them into this fresh sorbet is the perfect way to enjoy their true essence. The addition of fresh lemon and mint makes this dessert a refreshing way to end our summer harvest meal.

Servings: 6

¾ cup sugar
¾ cup water
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
2 pounds fresh ripe peaches, peeled and pitted

1. Place the bowl of an ice cream maker into the freezer and freeze for 24 hours.

2. In a small sauce pot, combine the sugar and water together and place over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.

3. Add the fresh mint and lemon zest. Bring the mixture just up to a simmer.

4. Remove from the heat. Allow the syrup to cool completely.

5. Use a slotted spoon to remove the mint leaves and lemon zest.

6. Place the peaches into a food processor.

7. Pour the simple syrup over the peaches and process until smooth.

8. Chill the mixture for several hours.

9. Place the peach puree into the frozen bowl of the ice cream maker. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to make the sorbet.

10. Keep the sorbet in the freezer until you are ready to serve. This can be made a couple of days in advance. The sorbet will keep in the freezer for up to 3 weeks.

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