What To Cook Using 5 Spring/Summer Ingredients

Now is the perfect time to enjoy an abundance of seasonal ingredients. This month, says food writer and SL contributor Chloe Scott-Moncrieff, make a beeline for piccolo tomatoes and juicy British shrimps – among others. From what to look out for to simple recipe ideas, here’s how to make the most of these spring/summer heroes…

Broad Beans

Broad beans are best eaten now when they’re young and tender. Not only are they at their most delicious in May, but the nutritional credentials are also seriously impressive. Abundant in protein and fibre, their peak season continues through to early autumn.

Broad Bean, Feta, Mint & Eggs All Day Breakfast (V)

Serves

4

Difficulty

Easy

Total Time

20 Minutes

Ingredients

1 purple/red onion or shallot, finely chopped
1 tsp of fennel seeds
1 x 400g tin of tomatoes
Few drops of Tabasco
Salt and pepper
150 -200g of broad beans, podded
4 eggs
1 large handful of mint, chopped
1 tbsp of Greek yoghurt
Chunky bread or pearl barley, to serve

Method

Step 1

Heat the frying pan with a nudge of butter or olive oil. Gently sauté the onion or shallot. Sprinkle over the fennel seeds.

Step 2

After two minutes or so, pour in the tomatoes. Simmer for a further two minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. If you’re looking for heat, a few drops of Tabasco will do nicely here.

Step 3

Pour in the podded broad beans. Gently simmer again. If you need a little more moisture, pour in 1-2 tbsp of water.

Step 4

Now make 4 wells in the mix. Crack 4 eggs into each well. Season. Pop a large lid over to cook the top of the eggs, or you can put the pan under the grill for a few minutes.

Step 5

To finish, crumble over the feta and the mint leaves. Serve each portion on some chunky bread or with pearl barley. Greek yoghurt over each portion is a great addition, too, while meat eaters might enjoy a crumbling of chorizo.

British Piccolo Tomatoes

Despite the Italian name, these cherry tomatoes are actually grown exclusively in the UK. The Isle of Wight ones are the best, and while they’re cultivated all year around, it’s between May and August when they really come into their own.

One-Tray Tomato & Halloumi Bake (V)

Serves

4

Difficulty

Easy

Total Time

30 Minutes

Ingredients

250g of halloumi, sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
350g of tomatoes
2 peppers (any colour), quartered with seeds and core removed
2 sprigs of rosemary
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 x 250g packets of pre-cooked mixed grains, Merchant Gourmet is good
2 large handfuls of mint or thyme leaves, finely chopped

Method

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 190°C.

Step 2

In a large baking tray, mix the halloumi, onion, tomatoes and pepper slices together gently. Lay down the rosemary sprigs. Drizzle everything with olive oil and a decent sprinkling of sea salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

Step 3

When it’s roasted, remove from the oven. Heat the pre-cooked mixed grains, following the instructions on the back of the packet. Stir into the veg tray.

Step 4

Before dishing up, scatter over some large handfuls of fresh mint or thyme. Let everyone help themselves.

British Brown Shrimps

Brown shrimps are no longer something to be sniffed at – in fact, they’re far superior to ubiquitous tiger prawns, in my view. Hailing from the Lancashire coastline, the season is short – from now until June – so be quick if you want to make the most of these delicacies.

Garlic Butter Shrimps Tagliarini

Serves

2

Difficulty

Easy

Total Time

20 Minutes

Ingredients

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tbsp of butter
250g of linguine or tagliarini
150g of cooked brown shrimps
Salt and pepper
100g -125g of panko breadcrumbs
3 spring onions, finely chopped
Zest of 1 lime

Method

Step 1

Start by making a sauce. Sauté the garlic cloves, in the butter on a very low heat.

Step 2

In a pan, simmer the linguine or tagliarini for 7-8 minutes. Drain.

Step 3

Add the brown shrimps to the butter garlic sauce and stir into the cooked pasta. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 4

Grab 100g of the panko breadcrumbs and quickly flash fry in butter with the spring onions.

Step 5

To finish, grate the lime zest into the pasta. Top each serving with more panko crumbs. Serve.

Spring Greens

Young spring cabbage – otherwise known as spring greens – is finally here. Rich in vitamin C and other nutritional elements typically associated with brassica, its heart shaped leaves go well with everything from stir fries to fish dishes and pastas.

One-Pan Spring Greens With Olives & Pita (V)

Serves

2

Difficulty

Easy

Total Time

15 Minutes

Ingredients

1 spring cabbage
3 garlic cloves, chopped
150g of green or black olives, halved
250g of tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp of cumin seeds
A pinch of salt
A pinch of sugar
Olive oil
20g of coriander, tarragon, basil, thyme, chives (optional to mix)
Flat breads or pita, to serve

Method

Step 1

Heat a saucepan with a little olive oil and sauté the garlic for a few minutes. Then toss in the greens. Stir in the black or green olives.

Step 2

Add the tomatoes (you can use a tin of chopped tomatoes if you prefer) and stir in the cumin seeds. Season with salt and a pinch of sugar.

Step 3

Slice the fresh herbs you’ve decided to use and sprinkle over the dish as the final touch. Eat with flat breads or warm pita.

Melon

While melons remain on offer in the supermarket all year around, now is when they are at their most succulent. The first crop starts arriving from the Mediterranean and North Africa this month, while Spain’s melon season will be here before we know it.

Melon Tartare & Prosciutto Stacks

Serves

4

Difficulty

Easy

Total Time

15 Minutes

Ingredients

Flesh of 1 melon, diced into 0 .5cm -1cm cubes
1 shallot, finely sliced
A large handful of mint
1in piece of ginger, grated
2 -3 avocadoes, flesh cubed
½ a garlic clove
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper
1 red chilli, sliced (optional)
Prosciutto, one slice per person

Method

Step 1

In a bowl, mix the melon cubes with the sliced shallot and mint leaves. Stir in the grated ginger and set aside.

Step 2

Mix the avocado with the garlic clove and lime juice. Season well. You can add the red chilli here, if you want.

Step 3

To assemble, place a pastry cutter on a plate and press down a layer of avocado inside first. Press down gently, lifting it up a little. Next, spoon in the melon tartare. Now gently remove the cutter, leaving a tower on the place.

Step 4

Finish with a sliver of prosciutto rolled on top of the stack. To secure it, you can use small skewer. Repeat per portion.

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