Summer is all about grilling and being outside and food is simpler too – maybe freshly shucked corn and potato salad with sun-ripe fruit or ice cream for dessert. Egg and Potato salad is simple but different and combines two popular salads in one. The mayo dressing is diluted with apple cider vinegar which makes it lighter and the addition of store bought rolled anchovies with capers in the middle adds extra flavor.
8 oz. new potatoes – boiled and cut into small pieces (I use organic potatoes and leave the skin on)
3 eggs – hard-boiled and cut into small pieces
1 x can anchovies with capers – chop 4 finely and reserve 4 for decoration
1 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Boil the new potatoes and the eggs in a pan together for 10 minutes or so until the potatoes are tender. Drain pan then fill with cold water and add ice cubes.
When cool cut potatoes into small pieces and place into a mixing bowl.
Peel eggs (easiest way I have found to do this is to crack egg on its bottom on a counter top – there is a little air pocket at the bottom of the egg – and it makes it easier to peel) then chop into little pieces and add to potatoes.
Add the finely chopped anchovies with capers and chop finely to the mix.
Whisk 1 tbsp. mayonnaise with 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar and season with a little pepper (salt probably not needed because of the anchovies). Pour over salad and mix well together. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with the remaining rolled anchovies.
These potatoes are for an occasional treat as they are roasted in the drippings from slices of pancetta. It is an Umbrian way of roasting potatoes. Traditionally, the cooking in that region of Italy is based on local, seasonal foods with absolutely nothing going to waste. I sourced the pancetta from an Italian food shop and asked for it to be sliced quite thickly. It is placed on a slatted baking rack above the potatoes. The fat drips out of the pancetta onto the potatoes and they soak up some of the slightly smoked flavor of the pancetta which itself dries out and becomes like crackling. Serve each person with potatoes topped with the crackling. Goes well with roast pork or chicken.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
4 x thickish slices of pancetta
1 pound waxy potatoes (Yukon Gold or new potatoes) – cut into bite-size chunks
Put the potatoes in a metal roasting dish and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Place a rack over the potatoes and lay the pancetta slices on it.
Cook for about 45 minutes until potatoes are nicely browned. Turn the potatoes over periodically.
Serve immediately while pancetta is still crisp, placing pancetta over a portion of potatoes.
There is something about coleslaw that is so appealing whether it is store bought, homemade, or a side in a restaurant alongside a burger. If eating out with friends I often trade sides – one gets French fries, the other coleslaw – and we share. So I have tasted my fair share of coleslaw. It can be too vinegary or heavy on the mayo. My sauce is made of a mixture of mayonnaise (store bought is fine), freshly squeezed lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. To cabbage and carrots I add scallions, raisins and kale (only the frilly edges of kale and then finely chopped).
1/2 a smallish cabbage – shredded using a food processor
4 medium carrots – grated in a food processor
2 stems of kale – use only the frilly outer edges of the leaves and chop finely
1 bunch of scallions – just the white bits, outer skin removed and finely chopped
1 x 1 oz. packet of raisins
3 tbsp. mayonnaise
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Place the first five ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar, then pour over the vegetables and toss well together.
Hopefully you see this before you have planned your menu for a summer BBQ and if you are serving it with lots of other dishes it may serve more than 4 people. It takes about an hour or so for the rosemary and the olive oil to amalgamate and create a flavored oil. To do this several twigs of rosemary are place in a zip loc bag along with olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper. When the ingredients are in the bag bend or snap the twigs of rosemary and massage the leaves (or roll with a rolling pin). After an hour (or longer) place the sprigs of rosemary in the bottom of an oven proof pan, place the meats on top and tip the remaining contents of the zip loc bag over the meats and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Depending on how you like your steak you can add it in later so it will be rarer. The chicken sausage and steak will have a delicious undertone of rosemary. Goes very well with my recipe for ‘Summer Potatoes’.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
6 sprigs of rosemary
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 x chorizo sausages or German or Polish sausages – pricked with a fork
1 large (approx. 8 oz.) chicken breast – cut into slices
8 oz rib eye steak – cut into slices
Place rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper in a zip loc bag, then bend or snap the rosemary and crush the leaves with your hand and massage or use a rolling pin to release the flavor. Leave in the closed zip loc bag for an hour or more – out of the fridge.
When the ingredients are in the bag bend or snap the twigs of rosemary and massage the leaves (or roll with a rolling pin). After an hour (or longer) place the sprigs of rosemary in the bottom of an oven proof pan, place the meats on top and tip the remaining contents of the zip loc bag over the meats and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Depending on how you like your steak you can add it in later so it will be rarer.
To serve, remove the meats from the pan and arrange on a serving platter. Pour over any juices and rosemary leaves but discard the sprigs.
Tuna Salad, that staple of the deli counter, is something that most people like – cold comfort food. By playing around with the basics I may be alienating the classic tuna salad aficionados, but I hope not. Give it a try just once. The additions are dried cranberries or craisins as they are sometimes called, celery salt and lemon juice.
1 x 6.7 oz. jar or can of tuna – flaked
3 large scallions/spring onions or 1 bunch – finely chopped
2 sticks of celery – finely chopped
Handful of dried cranberries
A good pinch of celery salt
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tbsp. mayonnaise
Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well together.
Summer is peak season for mangoes in Florida. They drop off the trees and scatter over the ground and sidewalks. People literally can’t give them away and squirrels can’t get enough of them. Cantaloupe melons are also at their best and this really is a seasonal recipe to be enjoyed in the moment and put away for next year. The sweetness of the two ingredients is cut by the addition of lime juice and zest. For the melon I use a melon baller but if you don’t have one then cut the cantaloupe into chunks. Puree the mango to make a sauce which you can either pour over the melon balls or serve on the side so people can help themselves. Makes a quite decadent breakfast or a simple, thirst-quenching dessert.
1 x cantaloupe melon – de-seeded and cut into melon balls
1 x mango – peeled and cut into chunks
Juice and zest of 1/2 a lime
Place the melon balls in a serving dish
Puree the mango in a food processor along with the lime juice, then either drizzle over the melon or pour into a sauce bowl.
Grate lime zest over the melon.
Sitting outside an off-the-beaten-track restaurant in a French village, a dish similar to this went past me to another table and when I ordered it there was none left. It has haunted me ever since. This tastes like I imagine my Poulet aux Olives would have tasted and has a lovely, deep flavored sauce due to using only the dark meat of the chicken which I seared before placing it in the casserole dish. I also de-glazed the frying pan with a little broth and scraped off all the bits stuck to the bottom and poured them on to the chicken. I added slices of lemon in addition to a mixture of green and black olives. When you serve the dish the lemon slices are more than garnish. You can eat them skin and all and they have a much softer taste than raw lemon. Mashed potatoes are a good accompaniment to mop up all the delicious juices.
2 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs and drumsticks
1 onion – chopped
2 large cloves of garlic – grated
1 1/2 cups chicken broth + a little extra for de-glazing frying pan
1 lemon – sliced
16 pitted olives – 8 green, 8 black
1 tbsp. parsley – chopped
Place 1 tbsp. olive oil in a frying pan and the other tbsp. of olive oil in a cast iron casserole dish. When oil is sizzling place chicken pieces in frying pan and the onion in the casserole dish.
Brown the chicken on all sides and let the onion soften and brown a little before adding the garlic.
When the chicken is nicely seared transfer it and the juices to the casserole dish, then add a little chicken broth to the frying pan to de-glaze and remove any bits stuck to the bottom. Pour over the chicken.
Add the other 1 1/2 cups of broth to the chicken along with the lemon slices and olives.
Bring to a boil then simmer with a lid on for 45 minutes.
Sprinkle with parsley and serve.