August has brought the first crop of Tomatillos to the UK. Rarely grown here, I eagerly await their arrival and celebrate the short season with the ultimate green salsa that elevates barbecue to ridiculously insane heights of deliciousness.
Repeat after me: [toh-muh–tee-oh].
Physalis philadelphica and Physalis ixocarpa are part of the nightshade family – similar to the more common Cape gooseberry (Physalis peruviana) found in most supermarkets here, but larger, and green. Think green tomato with a papery husk.
Fresh, zingy and packed with complexity, this classic salsa is like nothing else. If you make your own from scratch, it blows any shop-bought version out of the water. The magic happens when you char the ingredients over fire before blending it all together. If you see tomatillos, buy them. Buy them all.
400g fresh tomatillos
2 green jalapeños
Juice of ½ lime
1 clove garlic
1 bunch fresh coriander
pinch of salt
Remove the husks from the tomatillos – give them a little wash as you’ll find that the flesh is a little sticky underneath. Pop the fruits on the bbq along with the onion and Jalapeños to blister the skins. (You could or grill them in the oven or colour them in a pan if you don’t have access to a bbq).
Chuck everything in a food processor and blitz it up into a rough salsa. How easy is that!
Another dangerous path of culinary adventure that requires tightrope level skills to maintain the balance between joyous deliciousness, and an inevitable descent into morbid obesity. Thankfully, unlike flatbreads, this recipe takes many hours to execute, which will hopefully prevent it becoming a regular go-to carb snack.
There are literally thousands of sourdough pizza recipes out there that use wildly different methods, but this is the first time I’ve really been happy with the end product and content that it will give consistent results.
I think it’s fair to say that the cooking method is probably more important than the ingredients for once – controversial, and something I never imagined I’d be writing.. If you’re lucky enough to have a proper wood-fired oven, you’re likely to get great results with literally whatever kind of dough you’ve got going. For me, the little burnt bubbles and flecks around the crust are the holy grail of pizza, and almost impossible to achieve with a crappy conventional oven.
If, like the majority of the population you don’t have access to a fabulous oven, I’d recommend at the very least investing in a decent baking stone and getting it as hot as your conventional domestic oven will possibly take you.
300g sourdough starter (See HERE if you don’t already have one)
500g strong white flour (I particularly like Tipo ’00’ and always use organic)
Like anything in the sourdough world, this recipe is all about time.
Make sure your sourdough starter has been fed recently and is raring to go – bubbly, lively and buoyant if you drop a teaspoon of it in water.
Mix together all of your ingredient and then knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth and silky.
Split your dough into three (or more) and shape it into tight balls. Pop them into the fridge (covered) until the following day. This is where the sourdough culture really does its thing, developing your dough and taking it from pedestrian to the sublime.
The following day, your dough is going to need a few hours out of the fridge (still covered) to come back up to room temperature.
Stretch or roll out your dough to the desired thickness using plenty of fine semolina and you’re all set and ready to go.
Add your toppings, bosh it in your super-hot oven and cook until it looks done and on the verge of burning.
TOTALLY. UP. TO. YOU – but just don’t overload it, or you’ll end up with a pie. If you’re making a few, you may as well make the first a classic tomato, mozzarella and basil margarita to act as a gauge and really show-off your dough.
If you’re looking for a faster (and slightly less awesome) pizza, click HERE for a non-sourdough version.
As ever, get in touch via here or social media if you have any questions, suggestions or special requests!
Beautifully simple, reassuringly rustic and moreish to boot. Here’s my recipe for open-baked mussels that my children can’t get enough of. It’s a reasonably cheap dish that’s definitely crowd-pleasing comfort food, and yet I believe it to be equally worthy of any dinner party.
Hunk of sourdough (to make breadcrumbs)
Extra virgin olive oil
Bunch of parsley
1 tomato, deseeded and diced (concasse)
Zest of 1 lemon
70g ham, chopped
2 banana shallots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
125ml white wine (or water)
Clean and sort through your mussels, removing beards and discarding any open (dead) ones.
Pop the mussels in a pot with a sprinkling of shallot, parsley stalks and the white wine (or water). Cover with a lid and steam the mussels for 4 minutes.
Discard any mussels that didn’t open during cooking.
Remove half of each mussel shell and lay the full halves out on a baking sheet.
Blitz the sourdough bread in a food processor to make a crumb. mix in the rest of the finely diced shallot, crushed garlic, chopped parsley leaves, ham, lemon zest and diced tomato. Add a good glug of olive oil and spoon the mix over the mussels.
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until golden brown.
Serve with french fries and mayonnaise for a glorious experience.
Sounds crazy right? Fear not, it’s remarkably simple and insanely delicious. In just 4 days you can transform an egg yolk into an umami-heavy delight with the characteristics and texture of Parmesan cheese.
The story starts as always with the freshest, highest quality ingredients you can afford. I normally use medium-size local organic free-range eggs.
Decide how many eggs you’d like to cure and select a dish or tupperware container large enough to house them comfortably without them touching each other. You’ll then need enough salt and sugar to bury them completely.
Separate your eggs and either freeze your whites (albumen) for later use, or make some meringues, omelettes or something useful.
Make yourself a curing mix by combining equal quantities of salt and sugar. You may want to add in some other flavourings to jazz it up a bit: peppercorns, seaweed, mace, chilli flakes, cloves – whatever takes your fancy.
Put at least a 1cm of the mix in the bottom of your container, use the back of a spoon to make a little indentation for each yolk to sit in, place them in and then cover them all up with the rest of your curing mix.
Pop the lid on or cover your dish with cling film before putting them to bed in your fridge for 4 days.
Carefully remove the yolks and then rinse off any excess cure that sticking to them.
Next you’ll need to dry them out completely by placing them on a wire rack in a very low oven (50°C) for an hour or two.
Your cured yolks will live happily in a container in the fridge for up to a month.
How to use them? Just finely grate them in the same way that you would use Parmesan cheese on pasta, asparagus, whatever you’d like. I just love it over buttered sourdough toast.