THE OFF SEASON: a summer roast

basilIt all started with a question about roast followed by a bouquet of fresh basil.  “Should I make a roast for dinner or is that only a dish you make in the fall?” asked a friend.  Though I easily drool at the thought of a juicy medium rare slice covered in horseradish, I couldn’t confidently answer her question.  Aside from my pavlovian mouth-water reflex, when I think of a roast, I think of a warm toasty meal on a cold fall or winter evening.

Had I eaten a roast outside of the fall-winter months?  Better yet, had Mike ever made me a roast dinner in July?  A summer roast dinner; was there such a thing?  Before I 2nd guessed, further questioned, or gave any more thought to my carnivorous habits, I went straight to Mike.

caprese_02Mike took my question to the local farmers’ market [or so I like to think] and came home with an inspired haul of fresh produce, local artisanal cheese, and a fragrant bouquet of basil.  He often asks me on Friday or Saturday for my thoughts on Sunday dinner.  I try to give a  decisive answer but I’m often at a loss for ideas as, really, I’m happy to eat any meal that I don’t have to prepare.  I’m sure Mike solely heard the word “roast” as my answer to his question and for simplicity sake, ran with it.

caprese13Mike served up our ‘summer’ roast, family style, with a fresh heirloom tomato + golden beet pesto salad and a chilled squash soup.

caprese_05H E I R L O O M   T O M A T O  +  G O L D E N  B E E T  S A L A D

  • 2 handfuls of heirloom grape tomatoes
  • 2 roasted + peeled golden beets
  • 1 C soft cheese cubed | we used a Monforte Dairy buffalo mozzarella style goat cheese
  • 1/4 C fresh basil leaves
  • 1 small zucchini
  • toasted + seasoned squash seeds [from squash used to make soup below]
  • pesto [click for recipe]


caprese_11preheat oven to 375ºF 
coat beets in olive oil + wrap in foil 
lightly toss squash seeds in olive oil and season with salt + smoke paprika
place foil wrapped beets on 1/2 the baking sheet
on the other half, spread out the squash seeds on a piece of foil
for the squash seeds: bake for 15-20 mins [or until dry] while occasionally stirring
for the beets: bake for 45-60 mins

thinly slice zucchini lengthwise on a mandolin 
drizzle with olive oil, season with salt + pepper, and grill
remove seeds from oven and let cool
remove beets from oven, let cool, peel and cube

caprese_10combine cheese, tomatoes, beets, and zucchini in a bowl
toss with desired amount of pesto
plate and finish with fresh basil leaves + squash seeds [save some seeds for the soup!]

caprese_14C H I L L E D  K A B O C H A  S Q U A S H  S O U P

  • 1 Kabocha squash | peeled,  deseeded, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium onion | roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic | roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot | peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2L chicken stock
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar

pre-heat oven to 425ºF 
place squash in a bowl with 2 tbsp of oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss until well coated
place squash on a baking sheet | bake for 20-25 mins or until fork tender


in a large pot, sweat the onions, garlic and carrot over medium heat until translucent [about 6-8mins]
add in the spices and sweat for 2-3 mins
add in the roasted kabocha squash
add in chicken stock and vinegar
cook on med heat for 15-20 mins.

remove from heat | blend with a hand blender until fully pureed
strain through a fine mesh strainer
adjust texture with more chicken stock if needed
season to taste with salt and pepper.

S O U P  T O P P I N G

  • remaining toasted squash seeds
  • 1 corn husk
  • 1/4 C fresh peas | shelled
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt and Pepper

brush corn with oil, season with salt + pepper and grill on bbq until charred
blanch peas in boiling salted water for 3-4 mins or until cooked, transfer to ice water bath for 2 mins
cut corn off the husk
once everything is cooked and cooled, mix in a bowl and season with salt + pepper to taste
generously top soup + serve!

caprese_16Now that I can speak from experience, I can confidently answer a enthusiastic ‘YES!’ to roast in the summer.  This was perhaps the best summer roast I’ve ever had; this may be the only summer roast I’ve ever had.  Either way, I’ve concluded that roasts know no season.


Let them eat roast!



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