Food by VICE

22 Late-Summer Produce Recipes to Ward Off the End-of-Summer Scaries

Don't worry, there's still plenty of time to get your zucchini fix before the season's over.

by Munchies Staff
Aug 14 2018, 7:00pm

Photo by Heami Lee. 

August is upon us, and we can’t shake the feeling that time is running out. Summer! It’s almost over! How did this happen?! Even though we haven’t been in school of any sort for years, we still feel the vestigial dread of summer vacation coming to an end, and it's thoroughly bumming us out. We’ve already noticed the sun starting to set earlier and earlier and we are deeply unhappy with that trend. So what is a summer-lover to do when we get this feeling that our favorite season is slipping through our fingers? Eat it, that’s what.

Summer might be winding down, but the best of late-summer produce is yet to be devoured. All season long, the sun has been ripening summer squash, fat purple eggplants, fuzzy green okra, and sweet, sweet corn to perfection, and now’s the time to be eating all of it. Instead of mourning the fleeting season, celebrate all the best things the August farmers’ market has to offer by cooking them up and reveling in the flavors of summer with a cold drink in the back yard (or on your stoop, or your roof, or just next to an open window—whatever you got). We rounded up some of our favorite recipes that put a big ol’ spotlight on the best produce late August has to offer to help you ward off the end-of-summer scaries. (We had to dedicate a whole other column just to tomatoes, though. They’re just that important.) Soak that sun up while you still can!

Tender butter lettuce and paper-thin strips of zucchini (or as the Europeans like to call it, courgette) make for a refreshing and extremely simple salad for any night of the week.

Give your zucchini a little char on the grill to add a little extra savory note to this quick and easy side dish for a warm night hanging in the yard.

Zucchini season is coming to an end, but shishito pepper season has basically just hit its peak. This tangy, herby side combines grilled zucchini with blistered shishitos for a peak mid-August flavor combo.

The inimitable Gail Simmons shows us how to get a nice char on a whole host of fresh summer veggies (eggplants, shishitos, tomatoes) to accompany a classic pairing of lamb and herbed yogurt sauce.

What’s a better go-to eggplant preparation than baba ganoush? Serve this easy recipe from Matty Matheson up with pita or veggies for dipping.

Slow roasted garlic. Smoked eggplant yogurt. Charred peppers. Grilled lamb. Yes, yes we’re good with that combo, thank you very much.

Putting in a little extra effort to make your own ricotta cheese is so worth it when you pair it with these marinated eggplants, beans, and carrots for a unique, tangy appetizer.

Eggplant parm might have been the way your mom tricked you into eating vegetables as a youngster, by dousing it in red sauce and breadcrumbs and burying it in mozzarella cheese. And that’s okay, because it’s delicious. Nothing to be ashamed of.

If you’re looking for a quick and tasty way to use up a whole bunch of eggplant you might have lying around (looking at you, CSA-having procrastinator cooks), get comfortable stir frying with a little soy sauce and rice vinegar for a quick weeknight dinner you can throw on top of rice in 20 minutes.

The best part about this recipe is that the whole thing comes together on just one sheet tray, so clean up will be easy-breezy.

Worried that you’re buying the wrong type of eggplant, or cooking it the wrong way? Culinary Director Farideh Sadeghin is here for you, with a recipe that will assuage your fears by basically saying—just grill the heck out of those suckers, and you’re good to go.

Treat this pickled eggplant like a tangy tapenade and serve it as an appetizer on toasted baguettes with good olive oil for drizzling on top.

Okra’s having its moment in the lazy, hazy dog days of summer, too, and what better way to enjoy it than to batter it and fry it up for an afternoon snack? Serve it with a smoky onion-heavy crema for dipping.

You can trust that culinary historian Michael Twitty will show you the way to making delicious stewed okra (heavy on that hickory-smoked bacon, too, of course). Serve it over rice for a simple summer supper.

This luscious, creamy lobster and corn bisque from our pal Matty Matheson is an excellent way to highlight the best sweet summer corn you can get your hands on.

Get prepared to get a little messy diving face-first into one of these mayo-and-cotija slathered corn cobs, because your self-control will not last long here, friend.

Lean into using corn as a dessert by combining them with sweet husk cherries and honey for an unconventional but undeniably tasty tart.

Don’t let the simplicity of this photo deceive you—chef Kris Yenbamroong manages to pack his patented flair for dramatics into even something as basic as grilled corn, ramping up the sweetness with coconut milk and then leveling it all back out with some salt and turmeric.

With a perfectly tangy and herby tartare sauce for dipping, you’ll want to eat a million of these little crab and corn fritters.

Char up your sweet corn and your tangy little cherry tomatoes for the perfect accompaniment to sweet, tender grilled bay scallops.

This blue crab and sweet corn pasta—with the most delicious corn puree reduction you’ll ever have—tastes like summer on the Mid-Atlantic coast, and we couldn’t be happier.

Now's about the time of year when every trendy café has blistered shishito peppers on the menu and everyone oooohs and ahhhhhhs as if its a uniquely cheffy thing to do. Hot tip, you guys: you can blister the crap out of those bad boys at home and snack on them any dang time you want.