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Seasonal, Yes. But What Season?

Pairing food and drink with SF's mercurial summer weather.

Sunny and Warm: Tomato and cucumber salad from Nojo's Greg Dunmore
(1 of 8)

Foggy and Cool: Grilled tomato-and-bacon skewers from Nojo's Greg Dunmore
(2 of 8)

Come July, San Franciscans begin to suffer from seasonal produce disorder—a condition that stems from trying to reconcile the bounty of summer produce with a forecast of 59 degrees (exacerbated by the knowledge that friends over the bridge are dining alfresco). The cure? Acceptance. Here, four city chefs choose a coveted summer ingredient and cook up two recipes around it: one for sun and one for fog.

TOMATOES
Chef: Greg Dunmore, Nojo (Hayes Valley)
Sunny and Warm: Tomato and Cucumber Salad
Rub whole Japanese cucumbers with salt and gently pound them with a rolling pin to break them into pieces (an old Japanese housewife trick). Add wedges of small, ripe tomatoes and lightly dress with soy sauce, rice vinegar, and toasted sesame oil. Sprinkle with shichimi (a Japanese spice mix) and toasted nori.

Foggy and Cool:
Grilled tomato and bacon skewers
Wrap thinly sliced bacon around Sweet 100 tomatoes and thread onto skewers. Place the skewers on a hot cast-iron skillet, turning just until the bacon is cooked but the tomatoes aren't mushy. Finely shred lettuce and toss with mayonnaise to serve alongside.


CORN

Chef: Jessica Boncutter, Bar Jules (Hayes Valley)
Sunny and Warm: Chilled corn soup with tarragon
Remove the kernels from 7 ears of corn. Make a stock out of the cobs, plus half an onion, 2 carrots, and a celery stick. In another pot, sauté 1 diced onion in butter with 2 tarragon sprigs. Add the corn and cook until soft, then place the mixture in a blender with 4 cups of corn stock. Finish with a splash of cream and some chopped taragon.

Foggy and Cool:
Place 3 cups of whipping cream, 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, the rind of a parmesan cheese, and half a head of garlic (skin left on) in a pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until reduced by half. Slice the kernels from 4 ears of corn. Add 1 cup of fresh chanterelles to the corn and place in a gratin dish. Strain the cream mixture and pour over the mix, then sprinkle with toasted breadcrumbs. Bake in a 450-degree oven 10 minutes.
 

PEACHES
Pastry Chef: Melissa Chou, Aziza, (Outer Richmond)
Sunny and Warm: Peaches with goat cheese mousse and basil
Add a splash of cream to 8 ounces of goat cheese and mix until smooth. Whip 1 cup of cream and 4 tablespoons of sugar to soft peaks, then fold it into the goat cheese and chill. Mix ½ cup of honey with ½ cup of good balsamic vinegar. In a glass, layer sliced fresh peaches, torn basil leaves, a spoonful of the goat cheese mousse, a drizzle of the honey balsamic mixture, and some crumbled cookies, such as amaretti or gingersnaps. Repeat to make four glasses.

Foggy and Cool: Slow-roasted peaches with bourbon sauce
Place 4 quartered peaches cut side down on a foil-lined sheet pan and sprinkle them with brown sugar. Bake at 250 degrees until they are shriveled—about 2 hours. Remove their skins. Mix ½ cup of bourbon with ¼ cup of honey and bring to a boil. In a mixer, whip 1 cup of crème fraîche with a big pinch of sugar. Serve the peaches over 4 toasted brioche slices with the crème fraîche and the bourbon sauce. Sprinkle with cinnamon and chopped toasted nuts.
 

ROSE WINE
Sommelier: Paul Einbund, Frances, (Castro)
Sunny and Warm: Ginger-lime pink lemonade
Squeeze a quarter of a juicy lime into about 5 ounces of dry rosé wine in a tall glass. Slice ginger into ¼-inch-thick strips and add 3 of the thin slices, along with a pinch of salt. Mix and pour into a glass with ice.

Foggy and Cool:
Coldest summer kir
In a wine glass, add ½ ounce of framboise (raspberry liqueur) to 5 ounces of cold dry rosé wine, then add 4 drops of Fee Brothers whiskey barrel–aged bitters. Stir and serve.

 

Originally published in the July 2013 issue of San Francisco

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