Walk through the farmers markets and one is bombarded with the scent of delicious fruits, herbs and vegetables. Fresh basil commingles with heirloom tomatoes, thyme and lemongrass loosely tossed by summer squash. Peaches, plums and nectarines drip off tables and everyone encourages you to taste their wares. A veritable cornucopia of summer’s bounty tempts you as you meander through the aisles. This menu takes samples from all of these treasures and highlights all the delicious parts of the season.

WHOLE ROASTED RED FISH STUFFED WITH HERBS AND LEMONGRASS

Serves 8 people

2 whole fish – each one needs to be about 2-3lbs

1 bunch dill

2 lemons – thinly sliced

2 stalks lemongrass – stems crushed

4 green onions – cut in half lengthwise

Olive oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  2. Place the ½ of the dill on a baking sheet. Place the fish on top of the dill. Place the remaining dill, lemongrass, green onions and lemon slices inside the fish cavity. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top of the fish, sprinkle with some salt and pepper and bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Serve the fish on warm plates with fresh lemon juice.

This is delicious served with slow-roasted tomatoes and a stir-fry of pea shoots.

BUTTERED FARO

Serves 8 people as an accompaniment

2 cups faro

5 cups water or vegetable stock

1 large pinch salt

½ bunch chives – finely chopped

Butter

  1. Combine the faro, salt, and water in a large, heavy saucepan placed over medium heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the faro is tender, 45 minutes to an hour, or about half the time if you are using semi-pearled faro. You need to try the faro often during the cooking process because you want it to be al dente and not get soggy. Once cooked, remove from heat, drain any excess water, and set aside.
  2. Stir in two tablespoons butter, some salt and pepper and the freshly chopped chives. Serve alongside the fish.

Summer time and the living is easy – isn’t that how the song goes? We live in a beautiful part of the world and what better way to enjoy it than to have a lazy lunch, caressed by the ocean breeze and enjoying the Californian sunshine, than to have a delicious lunch, filled with goodies from the local markets.

This menu was created to do just that. The snapper is enveloped with the flavors of the heirloom tomatoes and as their season is just getting into full swing, this is a dish that can be made again and again all summer long.

After lunch, go for a walk on the beach, wiggle your toes in the sand, eat some fresh berries and you will have the makings of a perfect day.

ROASTED RED SNAPPER WITH HEIRLOOM TOMATOES

Serves 8 people

Olive oil

3 lbs heirloom tomatoes – sliced

Herbes de Provence

Coarse sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 ½ lbs fresh red snapper filets cut into 8 equal pieces

Juice of 2 lemons

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Pour a little olive oil in a large shallow roasting pan. Lay the tomato slices over the olive oil so that they overlap covering the bottom of the dish with the tomatoes. Sprinkle a little of the Herbes de Provence over the top, and add some sea salt and pepper too.
  3. Cook the tomatoes for 45 minutes.
  4. Turn the oven up to 425 degrees.
  5. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and place the pieces of red snapper on top of the tomatoes. Place the roasting pan back in the center of the oven and cook for 10 minutes. If the fish is quite thick it may need a few more minutes.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven and squeeze a little lemon juice over each of the pieces. Serve at once with a little of the Moroccan couscous alongside.

MOROCCAN COUSCOUS

Olive Oil

2 large red onions – peeled and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon Ras al Hanout – Moroccan spice mix

1 teaspoon salt

4 oz golden raisins

¼ cup sliced almonds

8 oz couscous

2 cups vegetable broth

  1. Pour a little olive oil in a large saucepan placed over medium high heat. Add in the red onions and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally until slightly softened. Add in the Ras al Hanout, salt and raisins and cook for a further 15 minutes. The onions should be almost caramelized.
  2. Bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a separate saucepan. As soon as it is boiling, remove from the heat and add in the couscous. Cover and set aside for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the cooked couscous to the onion mixture and stir to combine the ingredients. Serve alongside the fish.
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