Come August you can usually count on corn, tomatoes and zucchini being plentiful.
Roadside stands and farmers' markets usually have an abundance. Now is prime time for the Big Three of summer produce.
These pizzas could be grilled. See the cook's note.
> Tomato and Zucchini Pizza
Cornmeal for dusting baking sheet
1 pound pizza dough, thawed if frozen
4 medium zucchini, about 6 inches in length, washed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded fontina or a flavored cheese
4 medium ripe tomatoes, washed, sliced into 1/4 -inch slices
Fresh basil, cut into shreds, optional
8 sun-dried tomatoes, not packed in oil, cut into slivers
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If you are using a pizza stone, place it in the oven while it's preheating.
Dust a baking sheet, if you are using one, with the cornmeal.
Roll out and shape the pizza dough into 2 crusts. Set them aside.
Slice the zucchini into 1/4 -inch slices on the diagonal.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the zucchini and saute a few minutes to slightly soften it and release some liquid. Remove from the heat.
In a bowl, combine the cheeses. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the cheese mixture over each pizza dough.
Top with the zucchini slices and arrange the tomato slices on top. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with basil and sun-dried tomato slices.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until the crust is browned and the bottom is crisp.
Remove it from the oven and let it sit a few minutes before slicing.
Makes two 9-inch pizzas.
Note: To grill the pizzas, preheat the grill to medium. Roll out the dough so it's thin. Place the dough on the grill and grill about 5 minutes on one side. Turn over, add the toppings as above and grill another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Watch carefully so the dough does not burn.
226 calories (43 percent from fat), 11g fat (4g sat. fat), 24g carbohydrates, 8g protein, 407mg sodium, 18mg cholesterol, 1g fiber.
This salsa goes well on its own with tortilla chips. Or serve it with grilled fish or chicken or as a topping on a burger.
> Fresh Garden Salsa
1 small zucchini, washed, ends removed
1 small yellow summer squash, washed, ends removed
4 small roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 small roasted red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 roasted poblano chili pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
To make uniform pieces, dice the zucchini and summer squash by cutting off the bottom and standing each one up on a cutting board. Vertically slice off a strip about 3/8 -inch-thick by about 3/4 -inch-wide. Rotate the vegetable and cut off 3 more strips. Cut each strip lengthwise into 3/8 -inch-wide strips. Stack these strips and cut them crosswise into 3/8 -inch cubes. Transfer them to a bowl and combine with the tomatoes, bell and poblano peppers and onion.
In a small bowl, whisk together the oregano, lime juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar and sugar. Pour over the zucchini mixture and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Let the salsa sit 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld before serving.
Makes 4 cups.
Note: To roast the peppers, place in the broiler and broil on all sides until the skin is charred. Remove from broiler and place in a bowl. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes; this allows the skins to loosen. Remove and discard the skin. Core and seed the peppers.
-- Adapted from "12 Best Foods Cookbook" by Dana Jacobi (Rodale, $21.95).
Per 1/4 cup serving: 37 calories (66 percent from fat ), 3g fat (no sat. fat ), 3gcarbohydrates, 1g protein, 29mg sodium, no cholesterol, 1g fiber.
To make this salad go further, add cooked large Israeli couscous or orzo and double the amount of olive oil and lime juice in the dressing.
> Cajun Shrimp and Corn Salad with Lime-Chili Dressing
1 1/4 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 to 3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kernels from 6 ears of corn (about 3 cups)
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 roasted red bell pepper, cored and diced, optional
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium bowl, combine the shrimp and Cajun seasoning. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until shrimp are cooked through, about 4 to 6 minutes.
Meanwhile, steam the corn kernels for 3 to 4 minutes. Let the shrimp and corn cool to room temperature.
In a large serving bowl, combine the shrimp, corn, tomatoes, roasted red pepper if using, and parsley. In a small bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and add to the salad. Mix well and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve at room temperature.
-- From "Raising the Salad Bar" by Catherine Walthers (Lake Isle Press, $19.95).
234 calories (36 percent from fat ), 9g fat (1g sat. fat ), 16g carbohydrates, 21g protein, 330mg sodium, 144mg cholesterol, 2g fiber.