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At the Plimoth, a four-year-old upscale restaurant in Denver’s Skyland neighborhood, seasonal ingredients—most of which are harvested from the restaurant’s own 750-square-foot plot—dictate the menu. Owner Pete Ryan believes that home gardeners and cooks should take a similar approach when deciding how to use their own harvests. “Don’t start with a recipe in hand,” he says. “Let what’s coming out of your garden or what looks good at the farmers’ market guide your vegetable choices.”
Here, Ryan shares his recipe—loose instructions, really—for a summer jardinière (pictured above), a fancy French term for an open-ended veggie salad. Didn’t grow beets this year? Swap in radishes. Have an abundance of potatoes or zucchini? Throw ’em in. The only rule here is to use what’s in season. Serve the dish with a protein such as grilled chicken or steak, or do as Ryan does: Pop open a bottle of rosé and eat this slightly creamy salad atop slices of toasted baguette, preferably while enjoying a Colorado sunset from your patio.
- 1 handful any green, yellow, or wax beans, cut into thirds
- 2 to 3 ears corn, charred on the grill or boiled, kernels cut off the cob
- 1 head broccoli or cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets, blanched for 30 seconds in boiling salted water, and shocked
- 2 to 3 sweet or spicy peppers, sliced into coins
- 2 ribs celery, sliced thinly widthwise at a slight angle
- 6 to 8 small beets, roasted or boiled until tender (or even pickled!), and quartered
- 4 to 6 baby turnips, quartered
- About ¼ cup finely chopped mixed herbs such as parsley, chives, basil, marjoram, summer savory, or mint
- At least one tomato of any variety, halved if small or quartered if large, seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ lemon, juiced
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- 3/4 cup oil (olive, safflower, or vegetable all work well)
Whisk the egg yolk, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper together in a medium-size bowl. Slowly add the oil to the egg yolk mixture (drop by drop at first to prevent the fat from separating), whisking continuously, to emulsify the mayonnaise. Continue whisking until thick. Adjust the seasonings, adding more salt, pepper, or lemon juice to taste. Add a few drops of water if the mayonnaise is too thick.
Prepare the vegetables as suggested. Combine in a large bowl and season with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Add enough mayonnaise to coat the vegetables lightly (you may not need all of it), and toss to combine. Add the chopped herbs and garnish with the tomatoes. Serve at room temperature or chilled.