As the heat of the summer lingers, at Riverford, we’re making the most of our seasonal veg and enjoying some Mediterranean inspired meals. Our basil crop is starting to slowly wind down now after growing so well this year. We are still using it in lots of dishes, such as bright, basil scented Tuscan panzanella – a beautiful salad in which the taste of ripe tomatoes really shines through.
The courgettes on the farm have rallied through the drought and grown away nicely, producing some fantastic plants that are yielding good quality courgettes – they seem to really like the sunshine. Pea shoot, courgette & whipped feta toasts are an interesting way to combine them with other stronger notes such as caramelised lemon.
Farinata (also known as socca) is wonderful discovery and a great gluten free option. A dense chickpea pancake, often baked in shallow trays in wood-fired ovens, it is perfect to drag through and mop up sauces. We have paired it with a rich but simple Ragú of green beans with tomatoes and olives.
Tomato & White Bean Panzanella
Traditional Italian panzanella is a way of turning stale bread into a salad that manages to be fresh and filling. Tomatoes, vinegar and oil soak into the bread and revive it, but if you don’t have stale bread, you can simply dry it in the oven for a while. We’ve added everything that’s good towards the end of summer – any extra ingredients are open for debate!
See the full tomato & white bean panzanella recipe here.
Pea Shoot, Courgette & Whipped Feta Toasts
You can treat this recipe as a posh open sandwich or a starter. The pea shoots are the first delicate stalks of a pea plant. More than just a garnish, they are sweet and succulent with a definite pea flavour. Charring the lemon really intensifies the flavour and gives it depth and warmth that cuts through the saltiness of the cheese as well.
See the full pea shoot, courgette & whipped feta toasts recipe here.
Ragú of Green Beans with Farinata
If steaming your green beans is the ‘go-to’, here’s a different destination for them. Green beans don’t always have to be bright and squeaky, they are more than happy to be given a little extra time and heat. What you lose in colour and bite, you make up for with a melt-in the-mouth tenderness. Served with Farinata (also known as socca) a dense and protein rich chickpea pancake, it makes a great vegetarian main or simply omit the Parmesan for a vegan option.
See the full ragu of green beans with farinata recipe here.
Spinach, Olive & Feta Tart
This is a really adaptable recipe and a great crowd-pleaser. Using the pastry case as your base, you can vary the fillings as much as you like. Use a good ready-made shortcrust to save time if you prefer.
See the full spinach, olive & feta tart recipe here.
Spinach Linguine with Roasted Tomatoes & Breadcrumbs
In Italy, ‘pangrattato’ or ‘poor man’s Parmesan’ (breadcrumbs with garlic and chilli) is traditionally sprinkled over pasta to give flavour and texture. This is another recipe that makes use of any leftover bread: here it is dried and blitzed into crunchy crumbs. Any extra can be kept in a bag or tub in the freezer where you can use directly, sprinkled onto gratins and other dishes for a little crunch.
See the full spinach linguine with roasted tomatoes & breadcrumbs recipe here.