Cooking seasonally in San Diego is a genuine treat, as it gives the cook a full arsenal of beautiful ingredients to choose from, year-round. Whether derived from the fertile hills and valleys, or the vast stretches of the sea, quality ingredients are best eaten when prepared simply and allowed to shine. Summertime is an especially exciting time to get into the kitchen as annual ingredients come back into the limelight.

White sea bass is a seasonal favorite in the summer months. Their core population is thought to center near Baja California, and they are fished off the shallow waters of the Baja coast. A mild flavor and a nice firm texture make this fish a wonderful option for many cooking preparations—but none may be as easy and satisfying as White Sea Bass al Cartoccio, which entails cooked it in a parcel.

When it comes to seasonality in seafood, look no further than the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market (open every Saturday). The fishermen here have their fingers on the pulse of the ocean and have the best insight on the freshest catch. When you shop the market, you’ll likely see one of my favorite fishers, Jordyn Kastlunger, hard at work keeping the spirit of sustainable seafood alive. A third-generation commercial fisher, Kastlunger uses her knowledge and experience to build community in food with her participation in various organizations and initiatives including Slow Food Urban San Diego, the Local Catch Network, and the Fishful Future Project.

Summer squash is a delightful gem that grows abundantly under the San Diego sun. Whether harvested from a backyard garden or found at your local farmers’ market, summer squash is versatile and is often served grilled or roasted. We’re taking an al fresco approach by shaving the squash into a beautiful and refreshing salad. Choose a firm, vibrant varietal like Gold Bar or Romanesco zucchini for the tastiest results in a Shaved Summer Squash Salad.

Green tomatoes are a great summer option from the farmers’ market and are sure to bring a tangy pop to your palate. Technically an unripe fruit, the green tomato showcases some of the best qualities. Loaded with vitamin C and potassium, green tomatoes are also a primary dietary source of lycopene, which helps prevent cancer and heart disease. Their crispness in flavor and texture adds to this Spanish-influenced recipe for Salmorejo Verde.

Find these delightful summer recipes linked below and make sure to check for more seasonally-inspired cooking.

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About the Contributor
Christina Ng
A San Diego transplant by way of San Francisco, Christina Ng is a personal chef and food educator rooted in supporting local farms and California Growers at every meal served. A food science graduate of University of California, Davis, she has worked in various arenas of the food service industry, including grocery retail, catering, hospitality, and corporate kitchen positions. Today, she draws on all of those experiences to drive her events and classes across San Diego County. You can follow her work on Instagram at @chinitaspies.