As the heat of the summer lingers, we’re making the most of seasonal veg and the peak of what we call the ‘summer flush’ in the veg calendar.
Mediterranean flavours such as basil and tomatoes are coming into their own, paired with strong cheeses or olives, while seasonal stars like sweetcorn can be transformed into fragrant dhansaks or BBQ centrepieces.
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.
Pea shoot, courgette and 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 and whipped feta toasts recipe.
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.
Spinach, olive and 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 and feta tart recipe.
Spinach linguine with roasted tomatoes and 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.
This is a vegetarian version of a popular spicy Indian dish usually made with lamb, lentils and veg. Eat with a bowl of brown rice or naan bread. Look out for sweetcorn in your veg box throughout the summer and eat it as soon as possible after it arrives so it’s as sweet as possible.
See the full sweetcorn dhansak recipe.