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Posts Tagged ‘Rocket’

A roasting tin dinner for busy evenings and when a batch of “very” late season cherry tomatoes land in our lap.

Rosemary & balsmic salmon with tomatoes – serves 4 (easily halved)

  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 sprigs rosemary, 2 left whole and needles picked and finely chopped from the rest
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely sliced
  • 600g cherry tomatoes
  • 2 x 400g tins cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 small salmon fillets
  • 2 handfuls of rocket

Heat the oven to 220C/200 Fan/Gas 7.

Whisk the baslsamic, olive oil, chopped rosemary, garlic, and seasoning, together in a small bowl.

Tip the tomatoes and beans into a large roasting tray. Nestle in the salmon fillets, then pour over the dressing. Toss gently to make sure everything is coated in dressing.

Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Give the beans and tomatoes another gentle toss and push down on a few tomatoes to burst them. Scatter over the rocket and serve.

(Original recipe by Anna Glover in Olive Magazine, October 2021.)

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If you have a little leftover ‘nduja, then this is the dish for you!! It makes a delicous main for two, or starter for 4. Masterminded by Jacob Kenedy of Bocca di Lupo.

Wine Suggestion: This dish needs a medium bodied red fruited wine with a lick of acidity like the Morisfarms Mandriolo from the Tuscan coast. Fruit-forward cherry and raspberry flavours which come from the Sangiovese which is tied together with a touch of Cabernet and Petit Verdot.

Orecchiette with ‘nduja – serves 2 (or 4 as a starter)

  • 200g dried orecchiette (if you can make or get fresh then go for that but dried works pretty good)
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 120g cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 100g ‘nduja (a bit less will be fine)
  • 50ml white wine
  • 80ml double cream
  • 50g rocket, very roughtly chopped
  • freshly grated Pecorino Romano, to serve (we used Parmesan – sorry Jacob!)

Get your orecchiette on to boil in lots of very salty water. Start making the sauce when there’s about 10 minutes to go.

Fry the onion and tomatoes over a high heat for about 3 minutes, you want them softened and lightly browned. Add the ‘nduja, break it up and fry for 30 seconds, then add the wine and a small ladleful of water from the pasta pot. Bubble briefly, then add the cream. Taste and season with some salt.

Keep cooking the sauce until thickend and not watery, then add the drained pasta (still a bit wet) and the rocket. Cook until the rocket is wilted and the pasta is coated in the glossy sauce. Serve with grated cheese on top.

(Original recipe from Bocca Cookbook by Jacob Kennedy, Bloomsbury, 2011.)

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This simple pasta dish will be ready in 10 minutes, the kind of dish we like on a Friday night! The Italian sausages we used tonight were the spicier sort but this would be delicious with milder ones too, the key is the higher meat content. If the sausages have fennel in them halve the fennel seeds.

Wine Suggestion: An under-rated Tuscan coast gem, Morisfarm’s Mandriolo. A classic, youthful Sangiovese with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot this is juicy and vibrant, but also hiding a serious core that stands up to flavoursome food

Penne with Italian sausages & rocket – serves 4

  • 200g Italian sausages
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ glass of white wine
  • 500g penne rigate pasta
  • 100g freshly grated pecorino
  • 100g rocket

Remove the skins from the sausages and break them up into a bowl.

Warm the oil in a large frying pan over a low heat, add the sausages and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. Add fennel seeds and some salt and continue to cook for another minute. Add the wine and cook for a minute more, then remove from the heat.

Meanwhile cook the pasta in lots of salty water.

When the pasta is cooked, return the sauce to a medium heat. Drain the pasta and tip into the sauce. Sprinkle over the pecorino and rocket and toss for about 30 seconds over a medium heat to allow them to come together.

(Original recipe from Gino’s Pasta by Gino D’Acampo, Kyle Books, 2010.)

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Tinned fish seems to be having a moment, which is fine with us because we love it. We especially like Shines of Killybegs who do great sardines in sunflower oil, amongst lots of other delicious fishy things.

Wine Suggestion: An Italian white with a nutty twist at the end like Sartarelli’s Tralivio, a verdicchio from low yielding old vines that epitomises the very best of this grape and a perfect match to the umami saltiness of this dish.

Spaghetti with chilli, sardines & oregano – serves 2

  • olive oil, for cooking
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 75g rough breadcrumbs, made from stale bread
  • 200g dried spaghetti
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 x 120g tin good-quality sardines in oil, drained
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 50g rocket

Heat a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add a good glug of olive oil and when it’s hot add the breadcrumbs and half the garlic. Cook for a few minutes until golden and toasted, then season with salt and pepper and toss well. Drain on kitchen paper if needed.

Cook the pasta according the pack timings in lots of very salty water.

Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add a little oil, then add the remaining garlic and the chilli for 1-2 minutes. Flake the sardines into small pieces, then toss in the pan with the garlic and chilli.

Lift the cooked pasta out of the cooking water with tongs and add straight to the frying pan with the sardines. Toss to mix well, then add the oregano and season to taste.

Stir in the rocket and divide between two plates. Garnish with the garlicky breadcrumbs.

(Original recipe from Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course,

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An excellent recipe for figs from Ottolenghi Flavour with the hot dressing perfectly complementing the cool ricotta. You can have the figs and the dressing made well in advance, making this dish simple to plate up.

Wine Suggestion: a complex and challenging dish to match with wine but if you can find a good, dry-ish Marsala, aged Tawny Port, or an Oloroso sherry with a hint a sweetness you’ll find the oxidative characteristics, hints of sweetness and tertiary, developed aromas and flavours really work a treat.

Grilled figs with Shaoxing dressing – serves 4 as a starter

  • 8 ripe purple figs, halved
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 ½ maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine (or you can use pale dry sherry)
  • 2 ½ tsp Chinkiang vinegar (or half this quantity of balsamic)
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 2 red chillies, finely sliced into rounds
  • 1 lemon, finely shave the skin to get 5 strips (a vegetable peeler works well)
  • 60g rocket
  • 140g ricotta

Preheat the grill to its highest setting.

Toss the figs in a bowl with the soy sauce and 1 ½ tbsp of maple syrup, then set them cut side up on a parchment lined baking tray. Don’t leave any paper hanging over the edges as it could burn.

Roast the figs close to the grill until soft and caramelised but still holding their shape. It’s fine if they blacken a bit in places. Return the figs and any juices to the same bowl, then add the Shaoxing rice wine, Chinkiang vinegar and another tbsp of maple syrup. Toss together very gently and set aside for at least 1 hour (or overnight).

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat, then fry the chillies for 3 minutes. Add the lemon strips and fry for 30 seconds more then immediately pour into a heatproof bowl and set aside to infuse for at least 30 minutes (or overnight).

Arrange the rocket on a platter and top with the figs and dressing. Dot with ricotta and finish with the oil, chillies and lemon.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi & Ixta Belfrage, Ebury Press, 2020.)

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You should try this the next time you have some leftover roast chicken. In fact, it’s even worth cooking some chicken specially. Great for lunch with some fresh bread and butter.

Chopped Chicken Salad – serves 4 (generously)

  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, diced (or just use some leftover roast chicken which is what we did)
  • 3 celery sticks, diced
  • 4 scallions, sliced into rounds
  • ½ cucumber, deseeded and diced
  • 100g radishes, thinly sliced
  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tarragon sprigs, leaves finely chopped
  • 2 thyme springs, leaves only
  • 1 heart of romaine lettuce or Little Gem lettuce, finely chopped
  • 50g watercress, stems finely chopped and leaves left whole
  • 50g rocket, roughly chopped
  • 50g Parmesan, finely grated

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp runny honey
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

You need to start with a very large bowl, big enough to toss all of the salad ingredients together in.

Make the salad dressing in the bowl by whisking all of the ingredients together with some salt and black pepper.

Add the chicken to the dressing in the bowl and toss to coat. Fold in the chopped celery, scallions, cucumber, radishes and cherry tomatoes, then the herbs. Stir it all together and season with salt and black pepper.

When you are ready to serve, add the lettuce, watercress, rocket and Parmesan to the bowl. Toss everything together and serve as it is or tip out onto a large serving dish.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ One Pot Wonders by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2019.)

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For many years we didn’t buy Polpo by Russell Norman. It has a fancy binding and was always wrapped in plastic in the bookshop, so there was no way to have a flick. We can’t remember now what made us take the plunge, but we’re so glad we did. We’ve cooked many of the recipes and recently took this book off the shelf again and cooked a few more, finishing with this steak dish. You probably don’t need Italian roast potatoes with rosemary as a side but we couldn’t resist.

Wine Suggestion: A kind birthday gift from our friends Nicola and Dave was a wine we knew nothing about, the Iuli Umberta and opening it to try with this dish was a revelation. From the Monferrato hills east of Turin, this Barbera is so full of energy and layered with subtle flavours and gentle spice; so easy and refreshing.

Flank steak with portobello mushrooms – serves 4

  • 800g flank steak, about 5cm thick
  • 4 handfuls of rocket leaves
  • 8 large Portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1 small handful of flat parsley leaves, chopped

Season the meat with plenty of salt and pepper.

We cooked ours on a hot barbecue but if you prefer you can oil a griddle pan and heat until hot, then grill the steak on both sides. 10-12 minutes in total should give you a medium-cooked steak. Leave it to rest in a warm place for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, dress the rocket leaves in some good olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Divide the rocket between the serving plates or you can put it onto one large platter.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan with the garlic and most of the parsley. Add the mushrooms and fry until soft and glossy, then set aside. We like to season these a little too.

When the meat has rested, sliced it thinly. Lay the steak on top of the rocket, then scatter with the mushrooms and serve with a drizzle of good olive oil and the rest of the parsley.

(Original recipe from Polpo by Russell Norman, Bloomsbury, 2012.)

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This couscous salad with fennel and tuna is perfect for lunch at the weekend. It’s very simple but the flavours all come together brilliantly. Do buy top quality tuna in oil – we used our local Shines Wild Irish Tuna in Olive Oil.

Wine Suggestion: not having a Sicilian wine to hand we still kept it Italian and opened Patrizia Felluga’s Zuani Vigne Collio Bianco. A multivarietal blend typical of the region this is precise, broad and complex while retaining good vibrancy.

Sicilian couscous salad – serves 3

  • 150g couscous
  • 1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder made up with 200ml of boiling water
  • 30ml best extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 10g flaked almonds
  • 9 caper berries
  • half a fennel bulb, finely sliced, a mandoline works best for this if you have one
  • 185g jar of tuna in olive oil
  • a handful of rocket
  • juice of ½ a lemon

Put the couscous into a large bowl, pour over the hot stock, cover tightly with cling film and leave aside for 10 minutes.

Remove the cling film and fluff the couscous with a fork to separate the grains. Drizzle with 10ml of olive oil, then stir in the flaked almonds, caper berries and fennel and toss well.

Add the tuna, breaking it into chunks with a fork and mixing through.

Finally add the rocket, squeeze in the lemon juice, the rest of the olive oil and season with sea salt and black pepper. Toss again and transfer to a platter to serve.

(Original recipe from A Table for Friends by Skye McAlpine, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020.)

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Marinated Figs with Mozzarella & Prosciutto

A fig salad for lunch; tasty indeed. It’s fig season, so they shouldn’t cost the earth and this is a great combination.

Marinated figs with mozzarella & prosciutto – serves 2

  • 4-6 figs, quartered
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp runny honey
  • 50g rocket
  • 1 ball mozzarella, torn into pieces
  • 6 slices prosciutto
  • a small handful of basil leaves

Whisk the vinegar with the mustard, then gradually whisk in the olive oil, honey and seasoning. Put the figs on a plate and spoon over the dressing, then leave aside for 20 minutes.

Spread the rocket, mozzarella and prosciutto over a platter. Spoon over the figs and the dressing and finish with the basil leaves.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, September 2018)

 

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Spaghetti with Prawns & Rocket

Easy, tasty, prawns, chilli & spaghetti 🙂

Wine Suggestion: A great match was the Biancardi Solo Fiano from Puglia which was aromatic, floral and vibrantly fresh.

Spaghetti con gamberetti e rucola – serves 4

  • 400g dried spaghetti
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 dried chillies, crumbled (or you could use a tsp of chilli flakes)
  • 400g raw prawns (peeled)
  • 1 small wineglass of wine – about 175ml
  • 2 heaped tbsp of sun-dried tomato purée or 6 sun-dried tomatoes blitzed in a blender
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 handfuls of rocket, roughly chopped

Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of salted water according to the pack.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan and add the garlic and chilli.

When the garlic starts to colour, add the prawns and sauté for a minute, then add the wine and tomato purée and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Drain the pasta but reserve a little bit of cooking water.

Toss the spaghetti with the sauce, the lemon juice and half the chopped rocket and season to taste (add a bit of the pasta water at this stage if needed).

Divide between plates and scatter with rocket and lemon zest before serving.

(Original recipe from Jamie’s Italy by Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph, 2005.)

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This is a masterful demonstration of how to balance sweet, nutty, peppery and sharp flavours and the soft, creamy, crunchy and slippery textures. If you want to really show off you can use a mixture of golden and red beetroot, but this dish is just as nice using the regular red beetroot. We wish we could claim it as our own but it’s another gem from Yotam Ottolenghi.

Roasted beetroot – to serve 4

  • 500g golden beetroot
  • 500g red beetroot
  • 80g sunflower seeds
  • 90ml maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 20g chervil leaves
  • 60g baby chard, baby spinach or rocket
  • coarse sea salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/Gas Mark 6. Wash the beetroot and wrap them individually in foil. Bake for anything between 40 and 90 minute. Ours came in a bag of all different sizes so we gradually took them out of the oven as they felt tender when pierced with a sharp knife.

Spread the sunflower seeds out on in an ovenproof dish and toast along with the beetroot for 8 minutes or until lightly coloured.

Let the beetroot cool a little before peeling with a sharp knife (gloves are highly recommended!). Cut them into halves, quarters or dice. Mix with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Toss well and then taste: Yotam advises that you should get a clear sweetness balanced by enough salt. Adjust the seasoning as required and serve.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi: the cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Ebury Press, 2008.)

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