Sunday Seven :: the perfect summer meal
When I was growing up my family always had a particular meal during the summer that allowed us to take advantage of the fresh produce that is so very specific to the season. As luck would have it, the meal had seven components, making it the perfect final post to the summer’s Sunday Seven. I recreated most of this meal a couple of days ago in order to capture it for posterity, and though the produce is just past its prime moment in time, it was still as delectable as I remembered.
Purple Hull Peas — my favorite of all legumes — cooked all day with a little salt pork then seasoned with nothing more than salt and pepper
Summer Squash, sautéed in a little olive oil and butter then seasoned with salt and pepper
Corn on the Cob, usually freshly shucked, although I never do that anymore because I despise cleaning the silks (much like my friend Cerella spoke of this week in her series of foodie posts)
Homemade Cornbread (or, in later years, Jiffy brand sweet cornbread). My grandmother always made cornbread sticks in a heavy cast iron pan, which I have now inherited, but fat muffins are just as delightful. With a little butter melted between the muffin top and bottom, the cornbread is almost like a dessert in the middle of the meal.
Cucumber Salad (not pictured here) was always a primary element to the meal, although I didn’t really appreciate it when I was young. But it’s Grandmother’s best little salad, made from cucumbers, coarsely chopped sweet onion, and chopped tomatoes doused in a sweet vinaigrette made from vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.
Cantaloupe and Watermelon, as a sweet contrast to the savory components. Often the watermelon served as dessert and sometimes was not even included, but it was very rare to not have cantaloupe on our plates. A good thing, in my eyes, as cantaloupe is my favorite summer fruit.
Lemonade Pie remains the best summer treat, and in the event that we had it at the time of our summer meal, it was the absolute best capper. Everything that is good and fresh about the summer just comes together perfectly in this simple, cool, sweet treat. And the perfect summer meal was made even more perfect.