I remember summers like this—they started early and stretched forever across days of warm weather and clear nights. Is this why after nearly 20 years afloat, I feel like I am still playing hooky?
This morning’s plucking from the potager is for a summer salad: a fist full of mange tout or snow peas to eat raw while making lunch; haricots verts to blanch and dress with a hazelnut oil vinaigrette; six gnarly tomatoes of the un-named variety that, once sliced, will melt into oil, chopped shallots, sea salt and freshly ground pepper for a French ‘salsa’; and a handful of my favorite greens- roquette perforated by hunger critters as a good organic garden should allow.
I watch that I leave the ladybugs behind as I close the garden gate.
Everyone is eating sugar sweet smooth-skinned melons in their own favorite way, with jambon, anchois or ‘en brochette’ with pruneaux and ventreche. A friend has adopted the melon soup recipe from ‘A Culinary Journey in Gascony’ as her Summer Scoop and yesterday we ate it for lunch and again for dinner! Talk about tasting life twice… The verveine (lemon verbena) infusion and splash of vanilla-perfumed vinegar balance the so sweet melon; a base of sweet onions or shallots gives it some guts and elevates it above a ‘fruit smoothy in a bowl’.
More than just a soup and salad pairing, this becomes the easy beginning to a French summer supper. Just add a duck breast or two and finish with a glass of sweet cherries and ice cream for dessert—eh voila!