Travel broadens the mind; it also enhances the palate. Even if you haven’t had the chance to roam, or you don’t want to, reading and then spending a little bit of time exploring the different vegetables in your supermarket, market or local shop can throw up some wonderfully tasty ideas that’ll create some splendid culinary treats.
Have vegetable – create salad
You know that feeling, you open the fridge and groan. Open it again and have a look at which manky vegetables are secreted within and are just awaiting discovery. The Balkan states have a wonderful way of using up sad peppers and aubergines – welcome to the world of zacusca. The Serbs call it ajvar. This life enhancing spread can be used on toast, or as a welcome addition to any meal – it goes very well with white fish.
If you’re looking to add to your repertoire, then hummus is the way to go. Yes, the recipe calls for copious amounts of garlic and there are many who suffer from allergies to this allium, but as an alternative you can add more black pepper and lemon. It’s so easy to whizz up, and there are so many varieties to this middle eastern staple.
Simply grab a can of chickpeas and tahini – a sesame seed-based product that’s sold in all supermarkets, and you can create your own home-made hummus that’s a lot cheaper than buying the ready-made version.
Olives, capers and anchovies are the essentials for this little wonder. Either spread on toast for a snack or add it as a salad to any meal you’re preparing. Tapenade originates in the Mediterranean and given the semi tropical temperatures all in the UK experienced last year and this, hold on to this wonderfully easy to make dish.
Natural or Greek yoghurt is an essential ingredient for so many summer salads. Go Greek with tzatziki, cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice, pepper, garlic and salt are the basics – you can always play around with the tastes.
This succulent and delicious recipe is an ideal way of incorporating lettuce and parmesan into a dish. Use either mixed leaves, or a cos, or a little gem. Webb’s Wonderful is ideal as is the more astringent rocket. If you’re lucky enough to grow your own lettuce, and the snails haven’t used your plants as their takeaway, just savour the beautiful feeling of enjoying your own produce. This Delia Smith recipe is straightforward and the parmesan croutons are wonderful.
Be brave when thinking about salads, some ingredients are expensive at the moment, but you can always swap. Cookbooks are a wonderful resource, or just use your own imagination. Many of the dishes we enjoy today were created on the hoof by chefs remembering food they’d enjoyed in their local regions before moving elsewhere, and then they’d recreate these by adding whatever was to hand and sampling as they were making the dish. Enjoy your summer.