For us, this is the time of year to serve up bowlfuls of colourful Panzanella - an old-school Italian classic that uses up old bread and super-ripe tomatoes. This salad goes with everything from grilled meats, creamy cheeses to oily fish and delicate shellfish.
Get your hands on some delicious, juicy ripe tomatoes. As always, we like to use the best Olive Oil (Mother’s Garden) and Cider Vinegar (Secret Orchard); it’s the quality of these basic ingredients that makes simple dishes like this really sing out with flavour.
400g of regular, super-ripe tomatoes.
1 red onion – thinly sliced
Hand full of basil
100ml of Mother’s Garden Olive Oil.
4 tbsp of Secret Orchard Cider Vinegar.
A few salty anchovies
10 big green olives – de-stoned
Tablespoon of washed capers
200g of old bread such as sour dough, focaccia or ciabatta.
Tear up the bread into thumb-sized pieces and sprinkle with the vinegar. Leave it in the sun to dry out a little.
Dice, cut and tear up your tomatoes into a bowl, using your hands if you like. Season with loads of salt, a little vinegar and lots of olive oil. Add the capers and olives. Leave this to marinade for 15 minutes or so.
To serve, take a big bowl and mix all the ingredients together, let them rest for a minute and then using your hands, squash the bread into the tomato juices. Taste and correct the seasoning.
This salsa steals the show, so make sure you use a large dish and serve to the middle of the table.
Other ingredients we can’t wait to get our hands on this month:
Damsons, Blackberries, Elderberries:
We don’t tend to jam, instead we simply drop these late-summer fruits into our favourite liquors and put them somewhere for a winters night. A drizzle of berry-infused booze over clotted cream and a chocolate brownie – now that is something to look forward to.
We like picking herb flowers from oregano, basil and thyme and making a dried rub with salt and mixed seeds. Just spread them out on a tray, sprinkle with salt, maybe a little citrus zest and your favourite mixed seeds. The flowers will dry out in a day in a warm place, then you can jar them and use them for flavour explosions over the next few months.
We often see a run on fish such as sardines, mackerel, pilchards, even anchovies. Make the most of the dwindling evening light and roast these small fish whole over an outside grill. Pretend you’re in Spain and serve simply with lemon juice and salt. Just for a short time, enjoy the intoxicating experience of live fire, crispy fish, and the salty and zingy flavours of the tail-end of summer. It’s a proper food memory.