Looking for summer lunch dishes to try out? We’ve got you covered
Whipped feta & griddled watermelon salad
What could be a better starter for a summer lunch in the garden than whipped feta combined with watermelon? While you don’t strictly have to griddle (or barbecue) the watermelon for this dish, the addition of heat concentrates the sweetness in the flesh which pairs perfectly with the saltiness of the whipped feta. Look for a nice selection of shapes and sizes for the tomatoes to add extra visual appeal.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
For the pickled shallots:
1 small shallot, peeled
Splash red wine vinegar
Pinch of salt
Pinch of sugar
For the whipped feta:
100g feta, crumbled
125g ricotta or other cream cheese
Zest of ½ lemon
350g mixed heritage tomatoes
2 – 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ small (1kg, peeled weight about 350g) watermelon
100g green olives, crushed to pit
A few sprigs purple basil
- Finely slice the shallot into very thin rounds. Transfer to a small bowl and toss with the vinegar, salt, and sugar. Set aside.
- Whisk the feta and ricotta in a small food processor until velvety smooth. Stir through the lemon zest and black pepper. Chill in fridge.
- Slice or chop the tomatoes into chunks and toss with salt and olive oil. Set aside.
- Peel the watermelon skin off with a sharp knife. Slice the watermelon into 1.5cm slices.
- Heat a griddle pan to very hot. Add the watermelon slices, as many as you can fit at a time without overcrowding. Sear on both sides for two or three mins and set aside to cool. Once cool toss with the tomatoes and their juices.
- When ready to serve, dollop the whipped feta onto a plate and pile up the watermelon and tomatoes, alternating between both.
- Add the pickled shallot, pitted olives, scatter with za’atar and garnish with the purple basil.
Parsnip, leek, mushroom, kale & blue cheese tart
This lovely tart is quick to make and feels very impressive – especially when served on a large serving platter. You can interchange roots here – perhaps beetroot next time, or celeriac instead of parsnip. Blue cheese is optional but adds the most delicious richness.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 24 minutes
25g / 0.8 oz unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
Leaves from 25g bunch of thyme
320g / 11 oz ready rolled sheet of all butter pastry
100g / 3.5 oz chestnut mushrooms
50g / 1.7 oz kale, shredded
1 tsp white wine vinegar
100g / 3.5 oz blue cheese, Stilton is great
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper
- Heat the oven to 200°C. Slice the leeks and rinse, peel the parsnips then continue to use the peeler to slice them lengthways into ribbons. Melt the butter in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil then add the sliced leeks and parsnip ribbons, a generous pinch of salt and the thyme leaves. Fry gently for ten minutes until everything is softened.
- Slice the mushrooms and add to the pan with the kale and the vinegar. Turn off the heat while you prepare the pastry.
- Roll out the sheet of pastry onto a lined baking tray (save the trimmings for cheese straws; twist them straight away and place back in the fridge for later). Lift onto the roasting tray and gently score a line into the pastry 1cm from the edge.
- Scatter the cooked veg inside the scored rectangle of pastry and crumble over the blue cheese.
- Brush the edges of the pastry with the beaten egg and grind pepper over the top making sure to get plenty on the pastry edges.
- Bake for 25 minutes until crisp, golden, melty, to die for. Remove from the oven, slice and serve with a crisp bitter leaf salad.
Anything-goes summer salad with burnt tomato dressing
A juicy tomato salad that’s been melting into sun-warmed olive oil – so moreish that the dressing left over in the bowl is good enough to drink. Blend the tomatoes into the dressing and pour it over crisp vegetables of your choice and spicy leaves. We’ve chosen green beans and courgettes here as they soak up oil so well but anything goes.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
00g / 17 oz mix of crisp garden salad
2 courgettes, sliced thinly lengthways, rubbed with olive oil
100g / 3.5 mz green beans or runner beans
2 tbsp capers
50g / 1.7 oz almonds, roasted
6 tbsp goats curd to serve (optional)
Salt and pepper
For the dressing:
2 large ripe tomatoes
1 garlic clove
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp flaked sea salt
2 tsp sherry vinegar
60ml / 2fl oz extra virgin olive oil
- First make the dressing. Halve the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds (no need for perfection here). Place the tomatoes in a pan with a little oil and salt and heat on high until the skin blackens a little and juices start to run. Tip them into a blender with the remaining dressing ingredients and season to taste with salt.
- Heat a griddle pan or barbecue on high and when smoking, add the oily courgettes. Cook until charred on each side then add to a serving bowl. Cook the green beans in a pan of boiling water for 2 minutes so they still have a little crunch. Drain and add to the courgettes.
- Stir through the capers and almonds then toss through the tomato dressing. If time, leave to marinate until ready to serve (up to 2 hours at room temperature) then toss through the leaves just before you take the salad to the table.
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