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Posts Tagged ‘Summer’

Summer risotto

On a balmy summer evening we podded local broad beans and picked some french beans from the vines in our back yard. We used a stock made from a previously roasted chicken which was subsequently used to poach chicken fillets for a Coronation Chicken. The only thing out of place were the frozen peas, but we think unless you pick the pods fresh and eat them almost immediately, frozen is often best. This is based on a risotto primavera or Spring risotto which usually contains asparagus.

Wine Suggestion: a fresh, summery Godello caught our eye. The La Sonrisa de Tares from Bierzo had enough weight to balance the starchy creaminess and depth of the Parmesan while a lovely textural freshness and summery zing made the beans and peas sing with all their fresh flavours.

Summer Risotto – serves 4

  • 200g shelled broad beans (you will need about 800g of broad beans in their pods to get this quantity or you can use frozen broad beans, defrosted)
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 250g green beans, trimmed and cut into short lengths
  • 1.5 litres home-made chicken stock (you might not need it all)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 80g butter
  • 350g Carnaroli or other risotto rice
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 140g frozen peas
  • 100g Parmesan, finely grated

Start by double podding the broad beans so you are left with bright green beans. To do this just blanch them in boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and squeeze to remove the papery skin. If you’re using frozen beans you might be able to remove the skins when defrosted without having to blanch first.

Put the stock into a large pot and bring to a simmer.

Heat the oil and 40g butter in a wide heavy pan with a lid. Cook the shallot, scallions & garlic for a few minutes until soft and transparent but don’t let them brown. Add the rice and keep stirring for a few minutes until the rice is hot and starting to sizzle, then pour in the wine. Continue to stir until the wine has evaporated.

Now start gradually adding the stock, a ladleful at a time. Only add another ladleful when the previous one has been absorbed by the rice. Continue stirring and adding the stock for 14 minutes, then add the broad beans and peas with some salt and black pepper. Meanwhile, cook the green beans in the simmering stock for 6 minutes or until soft, then add these to the rice too. Continue stirring and adding stock until the risotto has a creamy texture and the rice is soft but retains a little bite.

Remove the pan from the heat and add half the parmesan, the rest of the butter and one last splash of stock to retain the moisture. Put the lid on the pan and leave to rest for a few minutes off the heat. Serve with the rest of the Parmesan sprinkled over the top.

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We’ve eaten this as a side salad, and on it’s own with crusty bread –  a summery meal in its own right! As always the quality of the tomatoes will really make this dish sing.

You should assemble most of this dish a bit in advance to allow the flavours to develop, then add the herbs and feta cheese just before serving.

Wine Suggestion: Try to find a youthful Italian red that echo’s the sunshine of this dish. We drank a Dolcetto d’Alba from Pira Luigi that had a joy and vitality, but reds from the Marche, Abruzzo and other central Italian regions should be a delight too. If you’re pushing the boat out go for a Rosso di Montalcino.

Summer Chickpea Salad – to serve 4

  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • 1-2 small red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 2 handfuls of ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 lemons
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 x 410g tin of chickpeas, drained
  • a handful of fresh mint, chopped
  • a handful of  basil, finely torn
  • 200g feta cheese

Mix the tomatoes (including any juice) with the onion and chillies in a large bowl. Dress with the juice of 1½ lemons and lots of good olive oil. Season to taste.

Heat the chickpeas in a pan, then add almost all of them to the bowl. Mush up the remaining chickpeas before adding them as well. Allow to marinate for a while at room temperature.

Add the herbs and check the seasoning just before serving – you can add a bit more lemon juice if necessary. Put the salad in a serving dish and crumble the feta cheese over the top.

(Original recipe from Jamie’s Dinners by Jamie Oliver, Penguin Books, 2004.)

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It’s avocado season and we have a big bag of prawns in the freezer. This is one of two prawn and avocado salads we’ve tried in the last few days. The seasoned pistachios make this one a bit special. We loved it.

Avocado and prawn salad (Insalata di avocado e gamberetti)

  • 50g pistachio nuts, shelled and chopped
  • 2 avocados
  • juice of a lemon
  • 200g cooked peeled prawns
  • olive oil
  • salt and white pepper
Mix the pistachios with a pinch of pepper in a bowl.
Peel, half and stone the avocados. Slice them thinly and drizzle with the lemon juice.
Put the avocado in a salad bowl, add the prawns and stir gently.
Sprinkle the pistachios over, season lightly with salt, drizzle with oil and serve.
Wine Suggestion: Try a dry Gasgogny rose (ours was Domaine de Pellehaut from Mitchell & Son on offer for €7.95. Bargain!)
(Original recipe from ‘Recipes from an Italian Summer’ published by Phaidon)

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