Threshold seasons—the few weeks when one season is ending and a new one’s launching, with the produce overlap that happens—are some of our favorite things on the yearly food calendar. Summer into fall is the best of all, a time when last-blast sweet, ripe tomatoes might have first-of-the-year butternut squash as a bin neighbor at the produce store. Here are 13 recipes (6 with a summer bent, 7 with an autumnal one) that, together, speak to right now.
1. Crispy Corn Fritters
When corn is new, we want to eat it straight from the cob, as fresh and unadorned as possible. As the season lumbers to an end, though, we’re looking for new ways to eat it—and, frankly, for ways that take advantage of the starchiness and diminished sugar of late summer corn—like this delicious fritter recipe. Get our Crispy Corn Fritters recipe.
2. Roasted Red Pepper Tart
Though they might come from greenhouses 9 months of the year, peppers come into their own after mid-summer. By late summer, just as fall is massing at the gates, local sweet peppers are at their peak. This tart recipe takes beautiful advantage of that. Get our Roasted Red Pepper Tart recipe.
3. Blueberry Spice Coffee Cake
Fresh blueberries are one of the tastes of summer for us. Sprinkled through fruit salads, whizzed up in yogurt smoothies, even sauced for pancakes and waffles. Here, fresh, juicy berries turn the clichéd blueberry pastry into a thing, we realize, is best kept seasonal. Get our Blueberry Spice Coffee Cake recipe.
4. Shaved Fennel and Strawberry Salad
Fennel and berries don’t seem to have much to say to one another, especially in the same dish. This salad proves that assumption wrong. Late-summer strawberries, usually softer and riper than at other times during the summer, find a juicy purpose with refreshing, crisp fennel. Get our Shaved Fennel and Strawberry Salad recipe.
5. Sautéed Zucchini
The thing we love about eating zucchini at the end of summer, despite the fact of using up the prodigious yield from our gardens, is there’s such an easygoing variety for the slipping into shopping bags: green, golden, striated—it’s a variable bounty. Get our Sautéed Zucchini recipe.
6. Broiled Pluots with Zabaglione
Pluots are one of botany’s great late-summer life enhancements—we love their variety, the sweetness and acidity, the slight blush of bitterness. This simple recipe weds delicious fruit with sweet, luxuriously textured sauce, and take the extra step of slipping both beneath the broiler. Get our Broiled Pluots with Zabaglione recipe.
7. Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
It used to be we’d avoid Brussels sprouts until we absolutely couldn’t refuse them. Nowadays we rejoice when the fall season brings them back to the supermarket produce bin. Here’s a salad recipe for the lingering warm-weather days of late summer. Get our Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad recipe.
8. Pumpkin Tortelloni with Sage and Pumpkin Seeds
We look forward to pumpkin pasta dishes the way some of our coffee-loving friends anticipate pumpkin-spice lattes. This recipe from a San Francisco chef is beautifully balanced (pumpkin sweetness, sage weediness, cheese umami-ness) and almost frighteningly suave. Get our Pumpkin Tortelloni with Sage and Pumpkin Seeds recipe.
9. Easy Apple Crisp
First apple crisp of the year is a hallowed annual rite of passage! This recipe is sweet, satisfying, and delicious enough to make it feel like a celebration, and still easy enough to make it low stress. Get our Easy Apple Crisp recipe.
10. Braised Pork Chops and Fennel
We love when fennel reappears in the fall, but really, the delight of seeing this recipe come back on the calendar is for the braising part. The cooler months are prime braising time, and this delicious, easy pork chop recipe is a gentle reintroduction. Get our Braised Pork Chops and Fennel recipe.
11. Grape and Grappa Focaccia
Otherwise known as schiacciata con l’uva—a Tuscan specialty. Grapes from California burst into peak flavor in September, a bridge between the seasons that feels, on the West Coast, like the beginnings of deep fall. It looks cool, too! Get our Grape and Grappa Focaccia recipe.
12. Roasted Acorn Squash
This is the easiest recipe imaginable. The hardest part—when it’s not fall, that is—is finding the acorn squash, at least acorn squash that’s sweet and newly harvested enough to be worth the time. This recipe is a calendar changer, for sure. Get our Roasted Acorn Squash recipe.
13. Tangy Apple and Beet Salad
Crumbled blue cheese is the kicker that gives this simple, crunchy salad its cool-weather soul. It’s a perfect bridge between summer and fall, reminiscent of the cole slaws we made all summer, but with apples—suddenly good—and that reflective, fall-friendly cheese. Get our Tangy Apple and Beet Salad recipe.