As summer heats up, menus are being tweaked, and you are working to save on costs and labor when and where you can. Get a lift from your spring inventory to help curate new dishes for summer and reduce waste, while giving guests appealing new seasonal options.
Light & Bright
Spring ingredients are all about light and vibrant flavors, which can seamlessly transition into summer menus. Consider incorporating leftover herbs like basil, mint, and cilantro into refreshing salads, cold soups, or even infused beverages. A tomato, basil, and cucumber panzanella is an easy, but tasty salad to throw together and perfect for summer.
Combine leftover spring veggies such as roasted asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and feta cheese with fresh summer greens like arugula and toss with lemony couscous for a heartier but light grain bowl. Utilize any remaining citrus fruits for cocktail syrups, infused lemonades or mocktails, or as a tangy element in marinades for grilled seafood or chicken. With watermelon at its peak, consider a watermelon, cucumber, mint, and feta gazpacho for a twist on the traditional, or grill it up and serve with balsamic glaze and peppery arugula for a burst of summer flavors.
Sauce of the Season
Transform spring produce into versatile sauces and dressings that can elevate summer dishes. Blend spring greens, such as spinach or arugula, with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and Parmesan cheese to make a zesty pesto sauce for pasta or a summer sammie. This Piancone® Pesto Fusilli Salad is a sensational combo of summer flavors that can be served as a side for your BBQ dishes or a light app. Spring peas, dill, and chives work well blended to punch up purees, drizzled over grilled sides, or crafted into dip to serve on a hummus platter.
Pickling leftover spring ingredients is an excellent way to extend shelf life and save on costs while adding depth of flavor. Turn excess cucumbers, radishes, or carrots into pickles for condiments, complements to charcuterie boards, or toppings for burgers, sandwiches, or fish tacos. Consider fermenting cabbage and herbs for a spicy sauerkraut to top hot dogs, subs, and eggs, or blend into a cheesy dip for your app menu. And we can’t forget about pickled fruit. The tart, sweet, and salty flavor bomb of pickled fruit can stretch across a variety of dishes from topping grilled pork chops, to relish for seafood, to tasty garnishes for cocktails.
Using on-hand roasted meats not only makes for delicious new dishes, but it can be a big savings asset. Shred or slice roasted chicken and pork and flex your culinary creativity in everything from sandwiches and tacos to breakfast scrambles or bowls. Also, guests love a summer seafood dish, so go all out with a Cajun-style boil special featuring frozen seafood ingredients and sausage, combined with corn on the cob, lemons, tomatoes, and new potatoes.
Spring berries and citrus can elevate dessert menus and cool down guests. Take advantage of your spring bounty of berries for pies and tarts or craft compotes to drizzle over ice cream and sorbets. And summer isn’t complete without a classic cobbler. This Blueberry Crumble utilizes Peak Fresh Produce® Blueberries but any cherries, plums, rhubarb, or other remaining spring fruit will be excellent in a cobbler and a definite crowd-pleaser.