With summer in full swing, the best menu items are fresh, fun and sometimes a bit indulgent. Palomar Health, a healthcare system in the San Diego area, has committed to a menu of 60 percent plant-based menu items and health is obviously a focus. But in life, balance is a must, so Chef John Medall’s favorite summer menu items all make use of fresh produce in two categories: delicious/healthy and splurge/decadence.
Grilled watermelon salad with balsamic gastric and feta
From the delicious/healthy menu: “In spring and summer, I try to incorporate produce into recipes as untouched as possible, with the least amount of cooking,” Medall says. “Produce shines in these seasons and dishes are created around their natural flavors and vibrancy.”
Thai soba noodles
Also on Palomar Health’s delicious/health summer menu, these soba noodles get major flavor from Thai coconut curry sauce, raisins, julienned snow peas, red bell pepper, jicama, mint and cilantro.
Jicama fish tacos
The taco shells are made of jicama on this delicious/healthy menu item, stuffed with local white sea bass, mango salsa, cilantro, avocado and lime.
Shrimp and smoked cheddar grits
On the decadent menu, this version of shrimp and grits with roasted corn and tomato relish brings a taste of the South to Southern California.
Smoked pork belly with bourbon and peach marmalade glaze
Also on the decadent side, this smoked pork belly is served with celery root puree and caramelized apple and fennel.