9 delicious ways to say goodbye to summer

9 Recipes August 23, 2007. Fig Tart.
(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Inspired recipes for the last of summer’s produce


Technically it is still summer; however, from kindergarten through university, school is back in session. The days are cooler and getting shorter. Birds have begun migrating. And back East they are no longer wearing white. With all indicators pointing to fall, now is the time to pull out those recipes on the to-do list that call for summer produce like raspberries, eggplant and figs. It would be nice to make at least a few of the dishes before the main ingredients disappear from produce shelves completely.

Fresh raspberry pie, vibrant and tart from all of those bright red berries, is a delicious way to recall summer as it wanes. Earthy and floral-scented cardamom raspberry bars are a bit more subtle: the raspberry and the warm cardamom hints at the coming cooler seasons.

Eggplant dishes can be as simple as flame-roasted eggplant spread with lemon and garlic or seared eggplant with spicy glazed peanuts. A bit more complex are a showstopping eggplant timbale and eggplant osso buco with mushroom Bolognese and rustic polenta. The timbale is sort of like Sicilian-style eggplant parmesan molded into the shape of a cake, the osso buco a completely vegetarian version of the original — the thick slices of eggplant are studded with hearts of palm to mimic the appearance of a shank.


Figs are at their peak at the very end of the season (as in, right now), so be sure to whip up some fig-tamarind ketchup to let you savor that figgy flavor long after summer is gone. Fig, prosciutto and blue cheese pizzas bring together sweet figs, salty prosciutto and pungent blue cheese, making for a full-on flavor fest. If you really want to showcase figs, this stunning fig tart with mascarpone cream will do it. The fig slices are nestled into a mascarpone pastry cream in a nutty, cookie-like crust.

If you need an occasion to entertain now that Labor Day has passed, call it a going away party for summer produce.

Fresh Raspberry Pie

Fresh, raw raspberries pile into a crunchy graham cracker crust and get a blanket of whipped cream in this refreshing summer berry pie.
Time 3 hours, largely unattended
Yields Serves 8 to 12

Cardamom Raspberry Bars

The floral qualities of cardamom and raspberry jam marry beautifully in these chewy blondie bars.
Time 1 hour
Yields Makes 2 dozen

Flame-roasted eggplant spread with lemon and garlic

Spiked with garlic and lemon and fork-whisked to creaminess, this flame-roasted eggplant spread is an ethereal kind of baba ghanouj.
Time 50 minutes
Yields Makes about 2 cups

Seared Eggplant with Spicy Glazed Peanuts

Spicy glazed peanuts add crunch to a quick eggplant stir-fry.
Time 25 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Eggplant timbale

This eggplant cake-like creation has just enough cheese to add umami without being heavy. The sweet-acid tomato sauce balances the rich, fried eggplant.
Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 8

Eggplant Osso Buco, Mushroom Bolognese, Rustic Polenta

Seasoned, seared eggplant "steaks" (studded with hearts of palm ) are plated over a rustic polenta, topped with a rich mushroom Bolognese sauce and served with broccolini.
Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Fig-tamarind ketchup

Fig-tamarind ketchup is sweet from figs and coconut sugar and sour from cider vinegar and tamarind, with smoky floral undertones of cardamom.
Time 45 minutes
Yields Makes a generous quart of ketchup

Fig, prosciutto and blue cheese pizzas

Figs are paired with prosciutto to make fig "pizzas." Mediterranean flatbreads make an easy base
Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 6

Fig tart with mascarpone cream

This fig tart is a stunning display of slices of sweet Black Mission figs layered on a mascarpone tart with the sheen and faint bite of a balsamic glaze.
Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields Serves 8 to 10