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Seasonal Pantry: Enjoying the foods of summer

  • Chermoula (WWW.SHUTTERSTOCK.COM)

With summer produce unfolding weeks and in some cases even a month or two earlier than usual in recent years, there is more time to indulge our pleasure in the foods that will vanish come rain (we hope, please) and cooler temperatures. There is a leisurely quality to this year’s harvest so far, a lack of urgency. We have tomatoes already, we said in June, and we are likely to have them for quite some time.

The same with sweet peppers. We have them now and may have them well into October or November.

This abundance has made me dig deep into my recipe archives, to some of the things I enjoyed years ago, when I was first writing this column and even before then. I found many old favorites that I’ll feature now and then, as earlier columns are not archived online.

Here, I’ve adapted two favorites, one a sandwich inspired by Middle Eastern street food and the other by the garden of a friend which, for me, is always the best source of inspiration.

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This delicious sandwich is adapted from classic Tunisian casse-croute, the country’s version of a submarine sandwich and common as street food. Traditionally, the bread is spread with harissa, not chermoula, but the two condiments have a lot in common and both are delicious. The sandwich, which you can think of as a cousin of the Provençal pan bagnat, includes a Tunisian salad known as mechwiyah, which also may be served alongside roasted meats and fish, with tagines and couscous, atop sliced grilled eggplant or alongside creamy polenta. It is a great way to preserve some of summer’s produce, as it will keep for several days in the refrigerator.

Tunisian-Inspired Sandwich

Serves 4 to 6

— Chermoula (recipe follows)

2 red bell peppers


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