Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook 

Highlights of Summer-AL FRESCO Sandwiches

This week in Homestead Gardens seasonal culinary file you’ll find 4 mouthwatering sandwich creations I’ve designed to highlight some of the star produce of mid-summer-corn, tomatoes and peaches. They complement each other beautifully and enhance other sandwich fixins’ like cheeses, more veggies and meats. The recipes are also perfect for transporting (porta via) and serving at room (or air temperature) at long as it isn’t meltdown hot. No mayonnaise here!

Just before you get to building the sandwich check out more uses for tomatoes 'cause the Tomato Fest is coming! She's so cute--State of the Produce! at Mrs Wheelbarrow's Kitchen. (She's our neighbor you know, over there near Washington DC).


Turkey Open Face with Tomato Corn Relish

Serves 4

You’ll want to serve these sandwiches with a knife and fork to get every last bit of the juicy relish.

  • 1 cup freshly cooked corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 2 tablespoons melted jalapeno jelly, melted (mild or spicy-your choice)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • Fresh whole basil leaves
  • 4 slices whole grain bread
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced smoked turkey breast

To Build the Sandwich

Place each slice of bread on a flat work surface and ruffle equal amounts of turkey on top. Add basil leaves and then top with Tomato Corn Relish. Serve.


Grilled Shrimp with Fresh Peach Tomato Salsa Croissant

Makes 2 1/2 cups salsa

  • 1 cup fresh ripe peach, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup fresh tomato-red and yellow, cut into small cubes
  • 1 small jalapeno, stem removed, seeded, and minced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped fine
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 4 croissants, split lengthwise and toasted
  • fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 pound grilled medium size shrimp

Mix the salsa ingredients together and let season refrigerated for 30 minutes before using.

To Build the Sandwich

Place the bottom of the croissant on a flat work surface and add a layer of baby spinach. Top with the salsa and then place grilled shrimp on top. Sprinkle with lemon zest; add the lid to the croissant and serve.


Tomato-Peach and Corn Salad on Grilled Flank Steak Baguette

Serves 2

Easily multiplied, this sandwich travels well since everything has been cooked and shines at room temperature. Also the vinegar and oil dressing is much safer for a summer outing than mayonnaise. If you are feeding a crowd, build a whole  baguette and just slice up individual servings just before serving.

  • 1 cup thinly sliced tomato wedges
  • 1 cup thinly sliced peach wedges
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 cup freshly cooked corn kernels, removed from the cob
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6-inch baguette per person
  • Grainy mustard
  • About 2 cups very thinly sliced cooked flank steak
  • 8 fresh whole basil leaves

Toss tomato and peach wedges with red onion slices. Toss in the shaved corn kernels from one fresh ear of corn. Drizzle with white balsamic vinegar and olive oil; season with kosher salt and pepper.

To Build the Sandwich

Slice the baguette and open like a book on a flat work surface. Spread the mustard on the top half of each baguette and top with basil leaves. Mound the salsa on the bottom half and top with slices of flank steak. Put the sandwich together and press down slightly. Roll up tightly in plastic wrap and then in foil. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Slice into smaller lengths of sandwich, if desired.


Grilled Fresh Mozzarella Quesadillas with Corn, Peaches and Tomato

Serves 4

The loaded quesadillas feed 2 people each. Being a grill gal, I love to grill these as it adds a bit of smokiness and just seems more festive. You can also brown in a grill pan or skillet on top of the stove.

You won’t need all of the salsa on the sandwich so serve more along side.

Corn Peach Salsa

  • 4 ears corn, shucked, lightly cooked, kernels removed
  • 2 large peaches, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium/large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon  fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons top-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper


  • 2 large whole wheat tortillas
  • 20 small spinach or arugula leaves
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • Vegetable oil spray

To Build the Sandwich

In  a medium bowl, mix the corn kernels, peaches, tomatoes, red onion, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the grill to medium high.

On a flat work surface, lay 2 tortillas. Cover each with the spinach, equal quantities mozzarella and then the salsa. Press down gently but firmly and cover each with a tortilla for the top. Spray each side of the outside of the quesadilla with vegetable oil spray.

With a wide spatula, carefully place each quesadilla on the grill. Turn the heat to low and cover the grill lid. Check in about 3 minutes to see that the cheese is beginning to melt and grill marks are forming. At this point you may need to move to an indirect heat of the grill. Flip carefully (so to retain the filling) and grill the second side.

Remove each quesadilla from the grill and place on a cutting board. Cool 5 minutes and cut each into 6 or 8 wedges and serve.

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