Put down that cookbook and let summer vegetables go barely dressed.

Tomatoes with fresh basil and drizzled with olive oil.

Tomatoes with fresh basil and drizzled with olive oil, vinegar, and a sprinkling of salt and peper.

As the bounty of summer piles up, I’ve been thinking about drizzles — not as in rain drizzles, but drizzles of dressing over vegetables so tasty and fresh that all you want to do is add a whisper of seasoning and call it done.

You don’t need recipes for drizzles. Just grab a couple of bottles from the cupboard.

Does a tomato need more than a drizzle of olive oil, red wine or balsamic vinegar, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper? I don’t think so (though a shredded basil leaf and a shaving of Parmesan never hurt).

It’s been a perfect cucumber summer in the Northeast: hot, sunny days with thunderstorms late in the afternoons. The storm clouds may catch up to me every time I plan to go swimming, but at least the cucumbers are abundant. My favorite drizzle? A little salt, a little rice wine vinegar, and a sprinkling of fresh cilantro.

Cucumbers with rice wine vinegar and cilantro

Drizzled cucumbers

Then there are green beans. I love green beans every which way: slowly stewed in a tomato-based sauce, baked under a béchamel sauce with a crispy garlic topping, roasted and salted. But most of the time, I just steam and drizzle.

Green beans dressed in soy sauce, black vinegar, sesame seeds, and garlic

Green beans, lightly steamed and lightly dressed

The drizzle of the week is sesame oil, soy sauce, and black (Chinese) vinegar. Garlic gives it depth. Black sesame seeds dress it up for a party.

You don’t always need a recipe to make a great dish.

Photos courtesy of Andrea Chesman

Andrea Chesman

Andrea Chesman is the author of The Fat Kitchen as well as many other cookbooks that focus on traditional techniques and fresh-from-the-garden cooking. Her previous books… See Bio

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