With Joe Grbac, Saxe Restaurant
Ah summer, the simple season. Perfectly ripe, fresh produce with minimal preparation; all it needs is a simple dressing and a meal is on the table in no time.
Tomatoes taken from the vine, sliced and dressed with the quality olive oil and balsamic, some basil and lunch is served!
The smell of tomato plants in the warm weather will forever be ingrained in my memory. If there is only one vegetable that you try to grow at home, then make sure it is the tomato. The change in season brings amazing heirloom varieties including Mary Italian, Cherokee Purple and Marianna’s Peace. And a piece of advice; do not store your tomatoes in the fridge!
Zucchinis and zucchini flowers are here! Look for varieties such as the Genovese, a short, stout light green variety, or the Tromboncino. Select zucchinis that have a prickly (or furry skin). Slice them thinly then salt, wait ten minutes to allow them to soften slightly, then add goats curd, torn mint and oregano with a sprinkling of lemon zest – delicious!
Mangoes are also in full swing. The R2E2 mango has been my favourite this year. They are extremely fragrant, with a sweet yet mild flavour. When selecting a mango, choose those with a deep orange colour and a touch of red blush, with little to no green colouring around the stem. Try your mango with a squeeze of fresh lime (the two are a match made in heaven!)
Summer stone fruit are starting to show their beauty. Cling stone varieties appear earlier in the season, and are best poached slightly in a sugar syrup with a vanilla bean thrown in. Serve with luxuriously rich double cream.
And who can forget the cherry. A short-lived season, they are at their best now until early January. Favourites include Stella and Bing, both large, dark fleshed, sweet varieties. For Christmas, try pairing your cherries with a decadent, chocolate mousse:
- 150g 70% chocolate, melted
- 100ml olive oil
- 250ml whipped cream
Stir the olive oil into the chocolate, then fold in the cream. Dip your cherries in and watch them disappear!