Summer salad recipes

Gardener cook, Jojo Tulloh has three recipes for sumptuous summer salads made with the freshest of ingredients picked straight from the allotment. 

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One of the reasons some Mediterranean recipes fail to impress when transplanted to English kitchens is that they rely on extraordinarily fresh ingredients that are packed with intense, sun-ripened flavour. It is this combination of herbs grown in hot sun and just-picked vegetables that will make the first three of the dishes below really shine. Happily, now is the time when your own garden should be overflowing with vegetables of all kinds at their peak, and you may marvel at the speed and ease with which you bring a sumptuous dish to the table. These three recipes for summer salads are great as a light lunch or side dish. 

 

Green beans with shallots and tarragon

This recipe will suit any variety of young-picked bush or pole bean, whether purple, yellow or green.

• 500g tender young beans
• 100ml extra virgin olive oil
• 1 shallot
• 1tbsp cider vinegar
• Chopped fresh tarragon to taste

Top and tail the beans and cook in plenty of boiling salted water. While they are cooking dice the shallot and mix it with the olive oil and the fresh tarragon. Drain the beans and dry on a tea towel and then toss with the herby oil. Just before serving add the vinegar (adding this at the last minute stops the beans from discolouring).

 

Squash or courgette with parsley and chervil

• 500g small, young courgettes or squash
• 2 shallots
• 2tbsp cider vinegar
• 1tbsp chopped chervil and/or parsley
• 5tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Chop shallots finely and macerate in vinegar. Pick some of your smallest (finger-length) courgettes, patty pan squash or even immature winter varieties. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the squash or courgettes until tender. Drain, then whisk the oil and vinegar. Stir in the finely chopped chervil and/or parsley and add salt and pepper. Arrange the courgettes or squash in a dish and pour over the herb dressing. Serve while still warm. A few torn courgette or squash flowers will make a colourful garnish.

 

Tomatoes with winter savory and chives

It’s usual to scatter basil over tomatoes but other herbs work well too.

• 650g ripe tomatoes
• 1tsp winter savory, chopped
• 1 small bunch chives
• 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1tbsp cider or white wine vinegar

Core and slice the tomatoes (you may also prefer to skin them first). Finely chop the chives (you could also use oregano, hyssop, parsley or lovage). Just before you are about to eat, take a salad bowl and mix the herbs with the olive oil and vinegar and season with sea salt and black pepper. Add the tomatoes and mix well. You can also chop the tomatoes more finely and spread the mixture over thin slices of bread that you have previously rubbed with garlic, salt and olive oil and roasted until a brittle golden brown to serve as an appetiser.

 

Words Jojo Tulloh

Illustration Sarah Young

This article was taken from a feature in the July issue of Gardens Illustrated (249). 

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