It's time to make a feast of your garden produce
It's National Allotment Week (August 13-19) so whether you have a few tubs of veg or a full-sized vegetable garden, make the most of your produce with this colourful dish from David Woods, executive head chef of the Sofitel London Gatwick.
You might be getting tired of watering your vegetable patch or allotment, but the long hot summer has had lots of benefits.
It is certainly the best summer I’ve ever experienced for tomatoes – I can’t quite keep up with the amount I am picking. The dry weather and heat reduced aphid numbers, sent slugs underground so we’re having tastier and earlier crops.
Steaming vegetables lightly and dotting with butter is one of the simplest ways to enjoy the fruits of your labour. Add a handful of fresh herbs and you have summer on a plate – at the Sofitel we pick ours from our indoor herb garden.
If you want to show off to your friends, make a feast of your garden produce with this colourful dish. Most of it can be prepared in advance – the roulade will keep for two days in the fridge. So, depending on how fast you pick your tomatoes, this dish can be ready within half an hour. Sit back and feel smug.
La Brasserie is Sofitel’s 2 AA rosette restaurant. To book a table call 01293 567070 or email [email protected]
Onion and goat’s cheese tarts with courgette and spinach roulade
For the courgette and spinach roulade:
2 large courgettes
Knob of butter
1 clove of garlic, crushed
100g mushrooms, chopped
Salt and pepper
Olive oil for sautéing and brushing
For the tomato relish:
2 tabs of olive oil
1 red and 1 white onion, finely diced
Grind of black pepper
25ml white wine
1tsp white wine vinegar.
Bunch of basil leaves, torn
200g different coloured tomatoes, chopped into 1cm cubes
For the onion and goat’s cheese tarts:
Half a pack of puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
Jar of onion jam or caramelized onions – available in most good supermarkets
120g goat’s cheese, cut into small cubes
To make the roulade, slice the courgettes thinly with a knife or mandolin. Drop into a saucepan of boiling, salted water for 30 seconds, then drain and plunge into a bowl of iced water.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan and gently wilt the spinach with the crushed garlic. Tip into a sieve and squeeze out the excess liquid. In the same pan, gently fry the mushrooms until soft. Combine the spinach and mushrooms.
On a sheet of greaseproof paper, overlap the courgette strips in a long row lengthways. Pile on the spinach mix and roll up to make a large sausage shape. Leave in the fridge until ready to use.
Roll out the puff pastry and cut out four circles, 10-12cm in diameter. Place on a baking sheet and brush with beaten egg and top with onion jam, leaving a 1cm rim.
Dot with a few cubes of goat’s cheese and place in preheated oven, 180 oC, for about 15 minutes until golden brown.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large saucepan and gently sweat the red and white onion until soft. Stir in the salt, sugar and pepper, and add the wine and white wine vinegar. Cook for a few minutes and then add the torn basil and chopped tomatoes. Stir well, take off the heat and leave to one side.
Brush the courgette roulade with olive oil and place in a preheated oven, 180oC, for 15 minutes until heated through. To serve, place a goat’s cheese tart onto four plates. Divide the roulade into four and top each tart. Decorate the plate with the warm tomato relish.
The courgette and spinach roulade makes a delicious and eye-catching accompaniment to roast or barbecued meats.
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