Even though it’s almost August, don’t listen to anyone who says summer is almost over. Especially in terms of summer produce, it’s basically just getting started! “The prime time for late summer produce is August through September,” Chef Deanna Fitchat of DeeLicious Park City tells us.
Because our growing season here in Utah is so short and starts late, now is the time we’ll start seeing the best tomatoes, corn, zucchini, melons, apricots and other stone fruit in the farmers’ markets, Chef Deanna explains.
As a private chef and caterer, Deanna spends her days prowling the local markets for the freshest finds. Her favorite stops include the Copper Moose Farm Stand (open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday), Summit Community Gardens, Tagges Fruit Stands, and the Wednesday Farmer’s Market at Park City Mountain Resort.
(P.S. Chef Deanna also teaches cooking classes at Mountain Town Olive Oil — find more details HERE.)
Her number-one tip for selecting the best produce possible: Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Ask the farmers where it’s grown, how recently it was picked, and you can even ask to taste it. Also, try to shop at stalls that are manned by the actual farmer; that way you know you’re getting the information straight from the source, Deanna suggests.
Below are some of her favorite summer produce picks, plus tips (and a recipe!) for using them up.
“I’m so excited for the heirloom tomatoes, which should be available this month since they take longer to grow,” Deanna says. “I like to use them as fresh as possible in my cooking, such as in Caprese or Greek salads.” She’ll also buy in bulk and use them to make marinara to store for later months.
The classic summer vegetable is even more versatile than you realize. Not only do they make a great veggie to grill or roast, but you can also use them raw. Deanna suggests slicing them into very thin ribbons (you can use a spiralizer or a mandolin for this) and then topping a fresh summer salad. Don’t forget all the fresh herbs!
Another great use for the summer squash is to use them in fritters, along with carrots, and topped with some tarragon and basil. As for zucchini noodles (a.k.a. zoodles), Deanna prefers to use them not as a pasta substitute, but rather as a replacement for noodles in Asian-influenced soups.
Corn on the Cob
“I’ll use corn all summer from the second I get my hands on it,” Deanna says. “Buying it from a Farmers’ Market is the best place to get it, since it starts to lose some of its sweetness as soon as it’s picked.” While you can never go wrong with a good, grilled corn on the cob, she also loves to use corn with pasta. Corn with pasta? Just trust. Here’s Chef Deanna’s recipe:
Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. While that’s heating, shuck 4 or 5 ears of corn and scrape off the kernels in a bowl, being careful to catch the juice that comes off.
Heat the corn, juices and a few tablespoons of cream with salt and pepper in a large high-sided saute pan for a few minutes to just let the corn soften and warm with the cream. Pull it off the heat and let it cool just slightly.
Meanwhile, add some pasta (a thick noodle like bucatini is perfect) to the boiling water for 8-9 minutes.
Blend the corn mixture until it’s smooth and creamy. Add it back to the pan with some of the pasta water and toss the noodles with the creamy corn sauce. Add some ricotta, a ton of fresh basil, and a lot of black pepper and serve!