The Taste of Eternal Summer

Of every season, summer is the hardest to lose. The weather cools down, pool floaties disappear from store shelves, piles of knobby gourds take the place of melons at the farmers’ market, and it can be tempting to eat every tomato in sight in a desperate attempt to make August last forever.

But flipping past summer on the calendar doesn’t have to mean giving up on all the best flavors of the season.

Blistering and charring—or exposing fruits and vegetables to high heat until their skins darken and crisp up—is the easiest way to achieve the blackened, burn-y flavor characteristic of summer barbecues all year round. The open flame of a grill is the ideal warm weather method, but the same result is attainable in a cranked-up oven or in a hot pan over a stove. Below, two recipes that utilize these indoor, burnt-on-purpose cooking techniques.

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Niçoise Salad with Charred Green Beans

Serves: 5
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients
¾ lb green beans, stem ends cut off and discarded
1 lemon, quartered and deseeded
1 lb multicolored baby potatoes
5 large eggs
2 Tbsps minced shallot
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsps white wine vinegar, divided
½ cup kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1 cucumber, cut into ¼-inch-thick rounds
4 radishes, thinly sliced
2 large heirloom tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges
15 oz canned, olive oil-packed albacore tuna, drained
½ cup basil leaves
¼ cup chopped parsley leaves and stems

Instructions

Blister the green beans

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Place the green beans on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Arrange in a single, even layer and roast 10 to 12 minutes, or until blistered in spots. Transfer to a bowl; top with the juice of 2 lemon wedges. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside in a warm place.

Cook the potatoes

While the green beans blister, to the pot of boiling water, add the potatoes. Cook 12 to 14 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Leaving the pot of water boiling, using a slotted spoon or strainer, transfer the potatoes to a large bowl.

Cook the eggs

Carefully add the eggs to the same pot of boiling water. Cook for exactly 6 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water for 30 seconds to 1 minute to stop the cooking process. When cool enough to handle, carefully peel the cooked eggs. Transfer to a cutting board.

Make the dressing & dress the potatoes

While the eggs cook, in a bowl, combine the shallot, garlic, mustard, and 2 tablespoons of the vinegar. Slowly whisk in 3 tablespoons of olive oil until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. To the bowl of cooked potatoes, add the olives and half the dressing. Toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Season the vegetables

In a medium bowl, combine the cucumber, radishes, remaining vinegar, and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the tomatoes in a separate bowl; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Assemble the salad

Halve the cooked eggs lengthwise. In a large serving dish, arrange the halved eggs, dressed potatoes, blistered green beans, seasoned cucumber and radishes, seasoned tomatoes, and tuna in rows. Top with the remaining dressing and the juice of the remaining lemon wedges. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the basil (tearing the leaves just before adding) and parsley.

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Blistered Cherry Tomato Bucatini Pasta

Serves: 2
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients
10 oz cherry tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
⅛ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
6 oz dried bucatini pasta
2 Tbsps salted butter
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese
⅓ cup basil leaves

Instructions

Blister the tomatoes

Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil on high until hot. Add the tomatoes in a single, even layer. Cook, without stirring, 4 to 5 minutes, or until lightly blistered. Add the garlic and as much of the red pepper flakes as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until fragrant and the tomatoes are blistered. Add ½ cup of water; cook, stirring frequently and pressing down on the tomatoes with the back of a spoon, 3 to 4 minutes, or until slightly thickened and saucy.

Cook the pasta

While the tomatoes blister, to the pot of boiling water, add the pasta. Cook according to the package instructions, until just shy of al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Turn off the heat. Reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water, drain thoroughly.

Finish the pasta

To the pan of blistered tomatoes, add the cooked pasta, butter, and half the reserved pasta  cooking water. Cook on medium-high, stirring vigorously, 2 to 3 minutes, or until thoroughly coated. (If the sauce seems dry, gradually add the remaining pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.) Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Plate your dish

Divide the finished pasta between 2 dishes. Garnish with the cheese and basil (tearing the leaves just before adding).

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