Nigel Slater’s Recipes for Cucumber, Avocado and Basil Tabbouleh and Honey Panna Cotta | Food


IIt can be really useful to have a summer salad up your sleeve that’s both light enough for the summer but also hearty – the kind you might bring along with a plate of marinated mozzarella or burrata, a terrine of summer of salmon trimmings or maybe a thick, shredded chunks of roast chicken picked from its bones. A salad that will keep all night if necessary, and whose presence on the table is unlikely to break the piggy bank.

A tabbouleh with green herbs does the trick: a few handfuls of cereal mixed with twice its volume of very finely chopped parsley, a handful of mint, spring onions and lots of lemon, then a few surprises in the form of pretty cubes of avocado and large peppery basil leaves. When summer is at its peak, I’ll also include diced cucumber for an extra kick of freshness and bring it to the table with a bowl of crispy, cold lettuce leaves that I’ve soaked in water. frozen, with which to pick it up.

We ate such a calm, sweet salad on Sunday afternoon, followed by a plate of flat, white peaches that smelled of rose petals and tiny pots of panna cotta, almost too soft to tear apart. The dessert, set in pale green and white jars, was sweetened with honey and seemed in tune with this, the quietest lunch of the season, eaten in the presence of the slow bees in the nasturtiums. Bees almost too big to fly.

My kitchen has been particularly serene this week, with the cook moving at a somewhat icy pace from the fridge to the stove. This long summer, with its seemingly endless garden breakfasts and glut of burrata lunches, got the better of me.

I turned on the oven only once, to roast a chicken to be eaten cold. I made her a pretty nice butter with chopped tarragon and lemon thyme, a pinch of fennel seed and a few pearls of dried lavender, which I then gently weeded under her skin with my fingertips.

Cucumber, avocado and basil tabbouleh

Although I don’t do this more than an hour or two before eating – lest the avocado brown – it will happily survive overnight in the fridge if well covered. (We took it on a picnic in Wales and it traveled better than most salads I’ve experienced.) The trick, as always with tabbouleh, is to make it with more flavor. ‘herbs than cereals and do not hesitate with lemon juice.

For 4 to 6 people

nice bulgeyou 100g
spring onions 3
cucumber 250g
parsley 80g (weight with rods)
basil leaves 25g
mint leaves 12, medium
green olives 75g, stoned
lemon 1
Lawyers 2, medium
olive oil 5 tablespoons

Put the thin bulgur in a small bowl, then pour enough cold water over it to cover it by 1 cm, and set it aside for 20 minutes while you assemble the salad.

Finely chop the spring onions and put them in a mixing bowl. Peel the cucumber, halve it lengthwise, then scoop out the wet core and seeds with a teaspoon. Cut the cucumber into small cubes and add them to the spring onions.

Remove the parsley leaves from their stems and chop them finely, then mix them with the spring onions and the basil and mint leaves. (You can grate the basil if you like, but I prefer to leave the leaves whole, unless they’re particularly large.)

Coarsely chop the green olives, then add them to the cucumber, onions and herbs. Cut in half and squeeze the lemon into the salad.

Halve the avocados, remove and discard the pits, cut the fruit into wedges, then peel and remove the skin. Cut the flesh into small cubes and mix delicately, taking care not to crush it, with the other ingredients.

Drizzle with olive oil, then add the drained bulgur and gently toss everything together before piling on a serving platter.

Panna cotta with honey

“Honey adds to the silkiness”: panna cotta with honey. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

After many years of making panna cotta the classic way, I was intrigued by Skye McAlpine’s idea of ​​sweetening it with honey rather than sugar. I think it’s better, the honey adding to the silky quality of the dessert.

Enough for 4-6 small glasses

For the panna cotta:
gelatin 2 sheets
liquid honey 2 tablespoons
double cream 350ml
vanilla 1 pod
caster sugar 100g
whole milk 150ml

Honey a little, to serve

Put the gelatin in a bowl of cold water to soften it. Pour the honey and cream into a small non-stick saucepan. Split the vanilla pod in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the cream. Add the empty vanilla pod and the sugar to the pan, then bring to a boil.

Remove the pan from the heat, cover and let steep for at least 20 minutes. Heat the cream briefly (it doesn’t need to be very hot), then gently squeeze the water out of the softened gelatin and add it to the cream; stir to dissolve.

Pour the milk into the cream, stir gently, remove the vanilla pod, then strain through a fine sieve placed over a pitcher.

Pour the mixture into 4 small glasses or cups, place them in the refrigerator and let them set for 4 hours.

Pour the remaining honey over the surface of the panna cotta and bring it to the table.

Follow Nigel on Twitter @NigelSlater



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