The near-constant rain is impeding the growth of the heat-loving plants, and if it keeps up it’s a safe bet that most of our tomatoes and peppers won’t ripen and our cucurbits will succumb quickly to a plague of powdery mildew. And the slugs are as big as schnausers. But the greener things are thriving- roots are getting fat, and our salad isn’t bolting like it normally does. This month will tell whether we are in for the sweet late-season good stuff or not.
In the meantime, there’s enough variety to at least allow for some simple pleasures like the ragout we had the other night. It’s a survey of all the non-leafy options available right now: carrot, scallion, green garlic, fennel, pea, fava bean, baby celery, and nasturtium bud. A quick sautée, a splash of wine, and it was freshest al dente bliss. Some broiled coho salmon and fried rice with beet greens completed the plate, but honestly the ragout was the star. The frozen mirepoix got us through the winter very well; every time it hit a pan I grinned at the vivid potency of summer captured in each bag as it wafted up (a mince of guanciale made it positively sublime). But when these prime crops, the non-leafy prizes of summer, have just been picked about 20 minutes before you eat them, it’s a whole different experience- one we get to have for maybe five months out of the year if we’re lucky.