Labor Day Food


Labor Day weekend is nearly upon us and vegetables are at their peak. So why not let the farm stand produce be the major focus of dinner?

Kick back, relax and enjoy the last few days of the season. And most of all, bon appétit!

Fresh Tomato, Avocado And Corn Salad(Serves 6 to 8)6 large, ripe farm stand tomatoes, seeded and cubed

2 large, firm ripe avocados, cubed

4 ears corn on the cob, cooked or grilled, with kernels cut off

1 bunch scallions, chopped

1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped

Extra virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish

Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted

Optional: Aged Manchego cheese, grated to tasteTo prepare:Wash and core tomatoes, then cut into quarters or eighths and remove most of the seeds.

Cut the tomatoes into half-inch cubes and place in a large bowl.

Halve avocados, then remove pit and cut into same-size cubes as the tomatoes.

Toss the avocados and tomatoes together and season with salt and pepper and drizzle with lemon juice.

Cut corn off the cob and add to tomatoes.

Stir in scallions and parsley.

Drizzle with just enough olive oil and lemon juice to lightly bind the mixture together.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Can be done up to 2 hours ahead.

Top with pumpkin seeds and cheese and serve.Massaged Black Kale Salad(Serves 4 to 6)2 bunches, washed, ribs removed

Juice and zest of one large lemon, approximately 2 tablespoons

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, or more to taste

1 tablespoon aged red wine vinegar, or more to taste

2 large cloves garlic, minced

2 pinches salt

2 small anchovies, or more to taste

1 generous teaspoon Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon (generous) nutritional yeast

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon very hot water

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 heaping tablespoon pecorino cheese or grated Parmesan cheese

Grana Padana, shaved for toppingTo prepare:Wash and remove all the tough ribs from the kale, then cut into wide strips and place in a large bowl.

Using gloved hands, “massage” the kale until it is bruised, which breaks down the smaller veins and releases some of the bitterness.

Whisk lemon juice and vinegars together.

Add garlic, anchovies, mustard, sesame oil and nutritional yeast.

Blend well.

Slowly whisk in the olive oil until blended.

Add hot water to set the dressing.

Add cheese, then taste and adjust the seasonings.

Pour the dressing on the kale and let stand at least 4 hours or overnight.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Transfer to salad plates, garnish with shaved Grana Padana and serve with crusty bread.Grilled “Packets” Of Striped Bass(Serves 6)6 sheets heavy-duty aluminum foil

1 large red onion, sliced thin

6, 6- to 8-ounce fillets striped bass

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 clove garlic, chopped fine

15 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade

3 medium to large ripe tomatoes, sliced

2 tablespoons drained capers

Extra virgin olive oil, as needed

Splash lemon juice or dry vermouthTo prepare:Tear aluminum foil sheets to measure about 8 inches longer than the fish.

Place the foil, dull side down, on a flat surface.

Cover the center portion of the foil with parchment paper.

Lightly coat the paper with olive oil.

Place a layer of red onions in the center.

Top with a fish fillet, skin-side down.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle a pinch of garlic and a few strips of basil over the fish, along with a few onion rings.

Top with some tomatoes and capers.

Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle vermouth or juice, plus a couple of basil strips, on the vegetables.

Fold the long side of foil over the fish, sealing with several turns of the foil.

Fold in the ends, as if wrapping a gift, once again sealing with several small folds of foil to secure the savory packet.

Place filled packets on a flat tray or baking sheet.

Can be prepared up to 4 hours ahead of time and stored in refrigerator until ready to cook.

To bake: Place tray in a 400-degree oven, 5 to 8 minutes, depending on thickness of the fish.

To grill: The grill should be white hot. Cook packets over direct heat for five minutes, then move them to indirect heat and continue cooking, about 4 to 5 minutes or until fish is opaque.

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