This is a great time of year for the produce at our European destinations. There are all sorts of fruits and vegetables – and even flowers – that can make a dish really sing. This week we’ll be featuring some things we love to eat as the seasons change from spring to summer.
Case in point? Fresh herbs. I buy them in the grocery store throughout the winter, but it’s just not the same as harvesting them from your garden or using the dried versions. Of course, some of our chefs in temperate climates have access to herbs in their garden year-round, but we’ll take what we can get, which means enjoying the next few months!
Just to feature a few recipes we enjoy at this time of year, try this for a late-May, early-June dinner party!
Asparagus with Spring Onions
One perfect thing about late-Spring/early-Summer produce? You catch some vegetables on their way out, such as the asparagus and spring onions in this tasty dish from Normandy. Try serving it with a crips white, such as a Muscadet.
Pasta alla norma
This dish features the first of the summer’s “bella dona” varietals, namely eggplant. It also requires a bit of fresh basil – and trust, me, it has to be fresh. Try serving it with a wonderful Sicilian red wine, such as a Nero d’Avola.
Tuna Steaks Calabrese-Style
For the main course, try a fish dish with a simple preparation featuring lemon and fresh bay leaf. It’s worth growing your own bay, by the way, preferably the Mediterranean variety. Not only is it delicious, it has medicinal properties as well! Serve the tuna with a side of Tomatoes with Wild Oregano to round out our herbaceous meal. And of course a bold white wine, such as the exquisite Cherchi Vermentino di Sardegna Tuvaoes.
The great thing about panna cotta in our mind is its versatility. Serve it with bit of chocolate sauce in winter and it is a comfort food. Steep the milk with your fresh herb of choice (thyme, for instance, or lavender), then drizzle it with summer honey, and it’s the stuff dreams are made of. For the wine pairing? A sparkler is always a great option, such as a Franciacorta from Lombardy or a Prosecco from the Veneto.
What’s your idea menu for the change of seasons? Does it feature as many herbs as ours? Let us know in the comments or on social media.
By Peg Kern
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