Prosciutto and figs, cauliflower and lemongrass, tomato and bulgur – Nigel Slater’s early summer season recipes

It’s the season of lighter consuming – substantial salads, vegetable dishes which are good as each principal dish or on the aspect, and people who have a good time the spring and early summer season elements. Cannellini beans cooked from scratch with slices of prosciutto and the primary tiny Turkish figs; native cauliflower in a citrus-scented sauce for consuming with rice or gently chilled as a aspect, all are out of the blue the dish of the day.

Griddled halloumi, tomato and spring onion (pictured above)

This dressing, with the warmth of purple chillies and nutty notes of toasted sesame, is helpful for seasoning chilly meat or greens, significantly these destined for a lunch field. Final week I used it with some griddled halloumi for a Monday “bento-box” deal with.

Serves 3

halloumi 500g

vegetable or groundnut oil slightly

tomatoes 350g

For the dressing

sesame seeds 1 tbsp

purple chilli pepper 1, gentle

soy sauce 3 tbsp

rice vinegar 2 tbsp

caster sugar 1 tbsp

gentle chilli powder ½ tsp

chilli paste 1 tsp

sesame oil 2 tsp

spring onions 3

To make the dressing, put the sesame seeds in a dry, shallow pan and toast over a average warmth until aromatic.

Thinly slice the purple chilli pepper, eradicating the seeds if you want. In a small bowl, combine collectively the soy sauce, rice vinegar, caster sugar and chilli powder. When the sugar has dissolved, stir within the toasted sesame seeds, the sliced chilli and the chilli paste. Finely chop the spring onions and add to the dressing.

For the halloumi, slice the cheese horizontally to offer 6 thick items. Heat a griddle pan, brush the cheese with slightly of the oil, then place it on the pan ridges, urgent down firmly with a heavy weight. Depart for five minutes or so till the underside is properly browned, then flip and prepare dinner the opposite aspect. Take away the cheese from the griddle with a palette knife and preserve it heat.

Whereas the halloumi cooks, thinly slice the tomatoes and place them, barely overlapping on a serving dish. Place the nice and cozy halloumi on the tomatoes then spoon over the dressing, depart for 10 minutes earlier than consuming.

Crumbed mozzarella and rocket

Crumbed mozzarella and rocket. {Photograph}: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

The exactness of the oil’s temperature is sort of essential – the cooking time must be temporary.

Sufficient for two

dry, crisp breadcrumbs comparable to panko, 100g

lemon 1

egg 1

plain flour 4 tbsp

mozzarella 2 x 125g balls

vegetable oil for deep frying

For the leaves

rocket leaves a handful

lambs lettuce a handful

olive oil 2 tbsp

orange or lemon to serve

Put the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl, then finely grate the zest of the lemon into them. Stir in slightly salt and pepper.

Break the egg right into a shallow dish and beat frivolously with a fork. Put the flour in a small dish. Press the mozzarella into the flour, then into the crushed egg after which into the crumbs. Press down firmly on each side so the cheese is totally coated within the crumbs.

Warmth sufficient vegetable oil in a deep-sided pan during which to fry the mozzarella – it must be at 190C and ought to be no less than 5cm deep. Decrease the cheese into the recent oil and fry for 3-4 minutes until golden brown, turning as soon as. Elevate out with a slotted spoon and drain briefly on kitchen paper.

Toss the rocket and lambs lettuce in slightly olive oil and season frivolously with salt, no pepper. Place a mound of dressed rocket on every of two plates, then the fried cheese and 1 / 4 of lemon or orange per particular person to squeeze over.

White beans, prosciutto and figs

White beans, prosciutto and figs. {Photograph}: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

Getting the beans to the fitting texture – tender, simply delicate sufficient to crush between finger and thumb – is what makes it value cooking them from scratch. By which I imply giving them an in a single day soak in water, then simmering them for an hour or so with bay leaves. On events the place the beans are to be crushed or whipped to purée, or if I’m in a rush, I’m comfortable to make use of bottled or tinned beans. Do you have to take that route, warmth the drained beans gently in slightly water or inventory first, so they’re heat if you costume them.

Serves 3-4

dried cannellini beans 250g

bay leaves 3

onion 1 small

prosciutto 12 skinny slices

figs 8 small

For the dressing

olive oil 2 tbsp

purple wine vinegar 2 tsp

dijon mustard 2tsp

basil leaves about 20

olive oil slightly to complete

Tip the beans into a big mixing bowl, pour in sufficient water to utterly cowl them, then depart them in a single day.

The subsequent day, drain the beans and tip them right into a deep saucepan, cowl with recent water to no less than 3cm above them, then add the bay leaves. Peel the onion, reduce in half, then add to the beans. Convey to the boil.

When the water is boiling, take away the froth that’s floating on the floor and discard, then decrease the warmth so the water is simmering and depart to prepare dinner for an hour or so till the beans are tender. Pinch one or two between finger and thumb to verify for doneness. The time they take will differ in line with age and selection, however you possibly can count on them to takea good 75 minutes or extra.

Make the dressing: combine collectively the olive oil, purple wine vinegar and mustard. Season with salt and black pepper, then shred the basil leaves and stir into the dressing.

When the beans are prepared, drain them aside from a few spoonfuls of their cooking water, discard the aromatics and toss the beans within the dressing. Put aside.

Fold the prosciutto into curls. Tear the figs open. Tear the basil leaves slightly then stir them into the nice and cozy beans and season with black pepper.

Switch the beans onto a serving dish, add the ham folded into curls and the figs and trickle with slightly olive oil.

Cauliflower with lemongrass sauce

Cauliflower with lemongrass sauce. {Photograph}: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

A gentle, coconut and coriander sauce for cauliflower with a nutty crust. You possibly can serve this with rice, or as an accompaniment to a fundamental dish. I additionally use this as the bottom for a heat salad with chilly roast hen.

Serves 2-3

lemongrass 3 stalks

garlic 2 cloves

ginger a 35g piece

cumin seeds 1 tsp

coriander seeds 1 tsp

coconut milk 1 x 400ml tin

spring onions 3

olive or groundnut oil 2 tbsp

lime leaves 4 giant

cauliflower 1 medium to giant

coriander leaves 10g

To make the crumbs

groundnut or vegetable oil 3 tbsp

recent breadcrumbs 50g

roasted salted peanuts 75g

parsley a superb handful

Take away the foundation finish and the outer (robust) layers of the lemongrass. Finely slice the inside stalk and put it right into a blender or meals processor. Peel the garlic and add to the lemongrass. Peel the ginger, grate coarsely and add to the blender with the cumin and coriander seeds and 100ml of the coconut milk. Course of the lemongrass, garlic and ginger to a unfastened paste.

Discard the roots and the darkest inexperienced ideas of the spring onions and slice the remainder finely. Heat the oil in a medium-sized saucepan, add the spring onions and allow them to prepare dinner for a couple of minutes until delicate however not colored, then stir within the lemon grass and ginger paste.

Pour within the remaining coconut milk, carry nearly to the boil then add the lime leaves, crushing them along with your hand as you go (it is going to launch their perfume), then depart to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring every so often. The sauce will thicken slightly. Test the seasoning and proper to style with salt and floor black pepper.

Convey a pot of water to the boil. Break the cauliflower into giant florets. Salt the water, drop within the cauliflower and depart until tender – about 7-10 minutes. Drain the cauliflower and add to the lemongrass sauce. Proceed simmering whilst you make the herby breadcrumbs.

In a shallow pan, heat the oil and add the breadcrumbs, prepare dinner for a couple of minutes till they’re golden, then add the roasted peanuts, preserving the crumbs shifting so they don’t burn. Chop the parsley and stir into the crumbs.

Roughly chop the coriander leaves and stir into the cauliflower. Switch the cauliflower and sauce to a serving dish then scatter with the peanut and parsley crumbs.

Tomato and bulgur wheat

Tomato and bulgur wheat. {Photograph}: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

Bulgur, these tiny angular grains of wheat that prepare dinner in minutes, are actually helpful as a base for spring and early summer season salads, and a great way to make costlier, seasonal elements go additional. A small quantity of asparagus, tomatoes or broad beans – all comparatively expensive at this level – can go a surprisingly great distance as soon as tossed with a grain comparable to bulgur. dressing is crucial – I exploit date syrup and chilli paste for a scorching and bitter word on this one. You possibly can introduce slightly meat or fish right here, comparable to leftover roast hen, or maybe some cooked seafood comparable to prawns.

Serves 4

bulgur 100g

tomatoes 350g

spring onions 5

flat-leaf parsley 20g

recent mint 20g

pomegranate 1 giant

For the dressing

olive oil 3 tbsp

purple wine vinegar 1 tbsp

chilli paste 1 tbsp

date syrup 2 tbsp

Put the kettle on. Tip the bulgur right into a heatproof bowl, then pour over sufficient boiling water to cowl. Put aside to swell.

In a big mixing bowl, combine collectively the olive oil, purple wine vinegar, chilli paste and date syrup.

Finely cube the tomatoes and spring onions and put them into the dressing. Roughly chop the parsley and mint leaves, and add them too. Lower the pomegranate in half and extract the seeds, taking care to take away any white pith. Add the seeds to the tomatoes.

Test that the bulgur has soaked up all of the liquid, then run a fork by way of it to separate the grains. Stir the bulgur into the opposite elements and switch to a serving bowl.

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