There's really nothing quite like harvesting part of your evening meal less than an hour before you sit down to eat. Fresh and bursting with flavor unknown to supermarket produce aisles, the veggies cry out to be enjoyed simply, so that the flavor can shine.
Last night i went out to the garden and picked some tomatoes and a pattypan squash meant just for dinner (other vegetables were waiting to be picked, but they had to keep on waiting). I cut some basil and brought it in. Sliced tomatoes sprinkled with fresh chopped basil and sprinkled with good quality extra virgin olive oil served as our salad, while the squash was halved and pan grilled, also sprinkled with basil. Just superb. If I'd had enough cherry tomatoes (they're really late this year, for some reason), I'd have thought about making them into a salad instead of the slicing tomatoes: halved cherries tossed with a variety of chopped herbs and a vinaigrette. I could have chosen green and yellow beans; I like them with parsley in a butter-lemon sauce, or sometimes with fresh oregano.
One simple way to prepare vegetables in order to really bring out their essence is to grill them. We particularly like baby vegetables, like summer squash and eggplant, halved, brushed with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and perhaps a fresh herb of choice, and placed on the grill until tender. Sweet peppers roasted on the grill in wide strips are also delicious.
The broiler is a handy device for eggplant or zucchini slices. Zucchini rounds brushed with oil and sprinkled with freshly grated parmesan makes a tasty side dish. I've taken large eggplant "steaks", added a little oil, placed a fresh tomato slice on top followed by a bit of shredded mozzarella, broiled them (usually giving the eggplant a head start and adding the other items a bit later), and called it a main dish.
We grow potatoes, and it's about time to dig the small ones sold as "new potatoes" at the store. These are unbelievably delicious freshly dug, cleaned (gently, as the skins rub off so easily), halved, and sauteed in butter with fresh rosemary.
The point is that when vegetables are this fresh and tasty, simplicity is the key to appreciating their flavors. There's no point in elaborate casseroles or sauces, at least early in the season when your palate still finds just-harvested veggies a novelty. When the shine is off a bit, well, maybe. But for now, I'll take mine straight.