A taste of summer from AWTBy Antony Worrall Thompson
April 20, 2012
We’re into summer now – in fact it’s roughly 240 days to Christmas (!) so make the most of the warmth by eating simple, stress-free food that means you don’t have to slave over a hot stove.
Obviously salads feature but vary what’s on offer by trying some of the oriental dressings that are usually much healthier.
I make a lovely dressing using just three ingredients; one third Thai fish sauce and two thirds lime juice with a teaspoonful of caster sugar to cut the sharpness.
A hot summer’s day demands a chilled soup from time to time and often they only need a raw ingredients and a blender; think gazpacho, iced cucumber, mint and yoghurt or even melon soup with a splash of white port.
Another starter I enjoy is a great basket of crudités, raw vegetables, hard boiled eggs, or how about smoked fish or chicken all served with oil dip, infused with anchovies and garlic? It always goes down a treat.
What we’re looking for is lovely, bright, summery colours, bruschetta with tomatoes bocconcini and maybe some crisp pancetta or Prosciutto, a salad of rocket, radicchio, gorgonzola and walnuts, a Greek salad with olives, cucumber, tomatoes, oregano, and feta.
It doesn’t have to be over complicated – you can make it easy for yourself.
Remember colourful foods sell themselves and usually have the best flavour.
Think of slicing a few Jack Hawkins beef tomatoes sprinkling with Maldon salt, leaving them in the sun for half-an-hour to intensify their flavour and then drizzling with extra virgin olive oil and then a final scattering of shredded basil just before serving.
And we can’t, of course, forget that during the summer, not only are we flying the flag for the GB Olympic Team – we’re also flying the flag for British asparagus which has a short season from May to the end of June, so make the most of it.
BOILED EGGS WITH ASPARAGUS ‘SOLDIERS’
250g bundle asparagus, trimmed (about 170g trimmed weight)
2 medium free range eggs
Freshly ground black pepper or smoked paprika, to sprinkle
2 slices seeded bread to serve
Steam or cook the asparagus in boiling water for 5–7 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stalks.
The stalks should be tender but still with a ‘bite’ (al dente). Drain thoroughly.
Meanwhile, cook the eggs in simmering water for 3–5 minutes depending on your personal preference: 3 minutes will give a very lightly cooked egg, 4 minutes will give a fairly firm white and a runny yolk, 5 minutes will give a firm white and a lightly cooked yolk.
Serve the eggs and asparagus at once, with ground black pepper or smoked paprika to sprinkle, and the bread cut into ‘soldiers’.
Soft fruits are also coming into season – so start looking out for them … and buy British.
Featured here is Warm Berries with Sabayon Sauce – a simple summer pud which tastes sensational with its frothy white wine sauce.
On your marks, get ready, get set…go!
WARM BERRIES WITH SABAYON SAUCE
3 tbsp caster sugar
225g strawberries, hulled and halved
2 egg yolks
50ml white grape juice or apple juice
50ml white wine
Put the blueberries, 1 tablespoon sugar and 3 tablespoons of cold water into a saucepan.
Heat gently for 2–3 minutes until the juice begins to run from the fruit. Cool slightly, then mix gently with the strawberries and raspberries.
Using a hand-held electric mixer, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar in a large heatproof bowl until very pale in colour and light in texture.
Add the grape or apple juice and white wine and continue to whisk, standing the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water until the sauce thickens.
Remove from the heat and whisk for a further 30 seconds or so.
Divide the fruit between individual serving dishes and spoon the sauce on top.