Yotam Ottolenghi’s summer salad recipes | food

I feel like a kid in a sweetshop at this time of year, rubbing my hands (or my tummy, more honestly) in anticipation of all the combinations to be had. Sweet melons, crunchy apples, tender courgettes, soft herbs, ripe tomatoes, buttery leaves: I’m bowled over by the colours, the possibilities, and delighted that, unlike when I was a kid, I don’t need to restrain myself.

Zucchini and cantaloupe salad with preserved lemon dressing (pictured top)

Nothing tastes of summer quite like a sweet melon. Use the ripest in-season fruit you can find, and serve as a light meal or with grilled chicken or fish.

Prep 20 mins
cooking 20 mins
serves 4 as a side

2 zucchini (about 400g), halved lengthways, seeds removed, flesh cut on an angle into 3-4cm-long pieces
80g broad beans or edamameskins removed
10g (2½ tbsp) parsleyroughly chopped
½ melon cantaloupe (about 400g), peeled, seeds scooped out, cut similar to the courgettes
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp runny honey
10g (2 tbsp) basil leaves
40g pumpkin seedstoasted
60g manchegothinly shaved with a peeler

For the dressing room
15g pumpkin seedstoasted
3 garlic clovespeeled and crushed
25g preserved lemonpips removed, flesh and skin roughly chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
Fine sea salt and black pepper
25g parsley leaves

25g basil leaves

80ml olive oil

First make the dressing. Put the pumpkin seeds, garlic, preserved lemon and lemon juice in a food processor, add a half-teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper, then blitz to a coarse paste. Add the parsley, basil and two tablespoons of water, blitz again to combine, then, with the motor running, slowly pour in the oil until it’s all incorporated. Transfer to a large bowl, add the courgette, broad beans, parsley and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, then toss to coat and leave to marinate for about 10 minutes.

Toss the melon with the lemon and honey. Arrange the courgette mixture on a platter, top with the melon, basil leaves, pumpkin seeds and manchego, and serve.

Eggplant and tomato salad with feta cream and oregano

Yotam Ottolenghi's warm eggplant and tomato salad with feta cream and crispy oregano.

This is a great dish for warm summer days. All the components can be made up to a day in advance and the dish assembled (at room temperature) when you’re ready to serve.

Prep 20 mins
cooking 45 mins
serves 4 as a side

2 eggplants (600g)
80ml olive oil
salt and black pepper

1½ tbsp (7g) oregano leaves
250g cherry tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
peeled and finely crushed
1 tbsp za’atar
¾ tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp parsley leaves
finely chopped

For the feta cream
200g fetaroughly crumbled
1 tbsp lemon juice
75ml whole milk

Heat the oven to 240C (220C fan)/475F/gas 9. Cut off and discard the eggplant stems, then cut them in half lengthways. Cut each half into 3cm-thick wedges and put in a bowl with two tablespoons of olive oil, a half-teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Toss to coat, then lay skin side down on a large oven tray lined with greaseproof paper. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the flesh is deeply golden, then remove and set aside.

Meanwhile, make the oregano crisp. Put the remaining 50ml oil in a small frying pan on a medium-high heat. Once hot, fry the oregano in two batches until crisp, then lift out with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Take the pan off the heat and reserve the oregano oil.

For the tomatoes, put the oregano oil, tomatoes, garlic, za’atar, maple syrup and a quarter-teaspoon of salt on a small oven tray and bake for 12 minutes, until blistered and burst. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for five minutes.

To make the feta cream, put the feta, lemon juice and milk in the small bowl of a food processor, blitz smooth, then spoon on to a platter.

Arrange the warm eggplant on top of the feta cream. Gently mix the chopped parsley into the tomatoes, and spoon over the aubergines. Finally, scatter the oregano on top and serve warm or at room temperature.

Butterhead lettuce with apple dressing and black lime crumbs

Yotam Ottolenghi's butterhead lettuce, apple dressing and black lime breadcrumbs.

A great, leafy salad starts with a great dressing. The black limes add an earthy tang that bounces off the sweet, lemony dressing. If you can’t find them (they’re sold in most Middle Eastern food shops), add the zest of a lemon to the breadcrumbs, or use the lighter green Iranian limes. The dressing makes more than you need for this salad, but it keeps in the fridge for up to three days.

Prep 10 minutes
cooking 50 mins
serves 4-6

2 heads butterhead lettuceor other tender-leaf lettuce
70g breakfast radishestrimmed and cut into ½cm-thick slices

For the dressing room
100ml rapeseed oil (or other neutral oil), plus 1 tbsp extra
2 banana shallotspeeled and finely chopped (80g)
2 fresh thyme sprigs
salt and black pepper
250ml apple juice
(not from concentrate)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1½ tsp dijon mustard

For the breadcrumbs
20ml olive oil
50g panko breadcrumbs
½ black lime
ground to a powder in a spice grinder

Start by making the dressing room. Put a medium saucepan on a medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of oil, the shallots, thyme sprigs and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring frequently, for five to seven minutes, until the shallots are translucent. Pour in the apple juice, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium and cook until the mixture is reduced by about three-quarters and has turned syrupy. Take off the heat and leave to cool. Once cool, pour into a blender, add the lemon juice, mustard and a quarter-teaspoon of salt and blitz to a smooth puree, scraping down the sides as you go. With the motor running, slowly pour in the remaining oil until you have a smooth dressing.

Put the oil in a medium frying pan on medium-high heat, add the breadcrumbs, and cook, stirring often, for five minutes, until nicely toasted and fragrant. Stir in the black lime, an eighth of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper, then transfer to a plate to cool.

Arrange the lettuce leaves in a large serving dish and scatter the sliced ​​radish on top. Spoon the dressing over the leaves and serve sprinkled with the breadcrumbs.

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