Classic ratatouille

Classic ratatouille

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SERVES 4

“This humble vegetable stew is a super-healthy, hearty supper for any night of the week ”

Ingredients

2 red onions
4 cloves of garlic
2 aubergines
3 courgettes
3 red or yellow peppers
6 ripe tomatoes
½ a bunch of fresh basil
olive oil
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 x 400 g tin plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ a lemon

Method

Prep your ingredients before you start – peel and cut the onions into wedges, then peel and finely slice the garlic. Trim the aubergines and courgettes, deseed the peppers and chop into 2.5cm chunks. Roughly chop the tomatoes. Pick the basil leaves and set aside, then finely slice the stalks.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large casserole pan or saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chopped aubergines, courgettes and peppers (you may need to do this in batches) and fry for around 5 minutes, or until golden and softened, but not cooked through. Spoon the veg into a large bowl.

To the pan, add the onion, garlic, basil stalks and thyme leaves with another drizzle of oil, if needed. Fry for 10 to 15 minutes, or until softened and golden. Return the cooked veg to the pan and stir in the fresh and tinned tomatoes, the balsamic and a good pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Mix well, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Cover the pan and simmer over a low heat for 30 to 35 minutes, or until reduced, sticky and sweet. Tear in the basil leaves, finely grate in the lemon zest and adjust the seasoning, if needed. Serve with a hunk of bread or steamed rice.

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Simple Dressing

Simple Dressing

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper ( could be parsley, basil, oregano .. all are superb salad herbs)
something sweet (optional)  2 tablespoons of mandarin juice or orange juice

Whisk olive oil and lemon juice together (about 30 seconds). Add salt, pepper… spices you like. And … serve 🙂

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Marinated Mediterranean olives

Marinated Mediterranean olives

Olives

“The longer the olives hang around in this fragrant marinade, the better they’ll taste ”

Serves 6
Cooks In 5 minutes , Difficulty: Super easy

Ingredients

1½ tablespoons coriander seeds
1 lemon
200 g Kalamata olives
200 g green queen olives
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method

Use a pestle and mortar to crush the coriander seeds, but don’t let them get too fine. Peel off long thick strips of lemon zest and place in a bowl with the olives. Squeeze the lemon then top with 3 times as much extra virgin olive oil. Add salt, pepper and the crushed coriander seeds. Pour the dressing over the olives and leave to marinate. The longer you leave them, the better they’ll taste.
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Italian style greens (Ricetta tipica per verdure verdi)

Italian style greens (Ricetta tipica per verdure verdi)

ItalianGreens

“You can make these simple Italian greens with cabbage, chard or even good-old salad leaves ”

 

Ingredients

6 big handfuls mixed greens, leaves and herbs
olive oil
2 cloves garlic , peeled and sliced
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon , juice of

Method

This dish can be eaten either cold as an antipasto or warm as a vegetable contorno. The great thing about it is that you can use any combination of greens, such as baby cabbage leaves, Swiss chard and even salad leaves like cos, gem or Romaine. You can easily buy a big bag of spinach, rocket and watercress and use some yellow celery leaves and other herbs like basil, parsley, sorrel and fennel tops to give you a good mixture. Most Italians have a vegetable garden, and no matter how big or small it is they always have greens and veggies to hand. This recipe sees the more robust leaves blanched first, then wilted down in a pan with the salad leaves, herbs and garlic until soft and tender.

Blanch the cabbage leaves and chard to perfection in a pot of salted boiling water for a couple of minutes, then drain in a colander and leave to cool down a little. Put a couple of good lugs of olive oil into a large frying pan or casserole type dish and add the sliced garlic. As soon as it starts to take on the smallest amount of colour, throw in your salad leaves then the cabbage and Swiss chard.

Cook on a medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes, moving the greens around the pan with a spoon or a pair of tongs, then add your herbs and cook for a further minute. Remove from the heat and season carefully to taste with salt and pepper, some good-quality extra virgin olive oil and enough lemon juice to give it a little kick.
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Balsamic-dressed cucumber with olives

Balsamic-dressed cucumber with olives

Cucumber Salad

SERVES 6

Ingredients

2 cucumbers
10 black olives , stone in
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 spring onions
extra virgin olive oil
½ a lemon
freshly ground black pepper
5 or 6 sprigs of fresh mint
optional:
½ a fresh red chilli

1. Run a fork down the length of the cucumber until it’s stripy all over.
2. On a chopping board, use a knife to chop off the ends.
3. Carefully cut them in half across the middle, then in half lengthways.
4. Use a teaspoon to gently scoop out and discard the seeds.
5. Chop the cucumber up into 1cm chunks and place in a mixing bowl.
6. Place the olives on a chopping board, squash them with the heel of your hand, pull out and discard the stones, then roughly chop them and add them to the bowl.
7. Trim and finely slice the spring onions and add them to the bowl.
8. Add the balsamic vinegar and 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
9. Squeeze in the juice of ½ a lemon, using your fingers to catch any pips.
10. Sprinkle over a pinch of black pepper.
11. Pick and tear over the mint leaves, toss everything together, then serve.

Read more at  www.jamieoliver.com