What's in season: Summer beans, ranging in color from green to yellow to vibrant shades of purple and red, are available by the mound at markets, and should be in season through the end of the hot summer months. Beans can generally be divided into two groups: round beans are more delicate and cook up quickly; flat beans are known for their tough texture, with thick hulls that take well to longer cooking times. Varieties include slender haricots verts, Blue Lake and pale yellow wax beans, with meaty, flat Romano beans just beginning to show up.
What to cook: Round beans take almost no time to prepare. Blanche the beans quickly, and add to a salad for extra crunch. Sauté beans in olive oil with a touch of garlic, or throw them on the grill for a quick side. Larger flat beans benefit from cooking over a longer period to coax out their tenderness. Braise flat Romano beans with pancetta and cherry tomatoes, or add blanched wax beans or delicate haricots verts to a Nicoise salad. Or get creative and bake green beans in a tortino — an egg tart similar to a frittata but cooked in a springform pan — flavored with Parmigiano-Reggiano and garlic.
What's on the horizon: Picture passion fruit, and you probably first think of sweet desserts or cocktails made to highlight the fruit's fragrant notes and bright tropical flavor. The fruit itself is rather odd-looking, small and reddish-brown, with a leathery skin that wrinkles as it ripens. The fruit should be available through the late summer months.