As a Brit I find food and cooking more of a challenge in the summer than throughout the rest of the year, mainly because, just as hot-weather clothes are rarely needed in this country, so is hot-weather food. But this year we’ve had an exceptionally lovely summer in London and it’s still going. I have made gazpacho a lot (either this one or this one) and salads, such as watermelon and feta, tabbouleh and every variation on green leaves possible then, when I get tired of those, I light the barbecue and grill something. That, to be honest, is about as much effort as I can bear, when it’s sweltering. However, I still like to dress up barbecued meat or fish a little, usually with a salsa or mojo: this year, chimichurri has featured quite highly and so has this, a lemon salsa from a little book called, simply, Lemons.
My friend Anne sent this book to me from the States and I love it for two reasons. First, it is a publishing geek’s dream, with its hand-stitching, tactile cover and sweet, short format (oh, and the heading type is Lobster too). And it is a wonderfully concise collection of just 24 recipes, all with one ingredient as the star. Having a limited choice is, sometimes, rather, wonderful since, much as I love all my books, I am often overwhelmed by the thought of the things I could cook, if only I had more time.
This is the recipe I have made from it all summer long. A chop, throw-it-all-together-and-serve sauce, it will make any grilled fish or lamb into dinner, along with one of those aforementioned salads. It’s made with a whole lemon (zest and all, but get rid of the pips) which might seem weird, but it creates a great, bright rush of zingy flavour, perfect to revive you in this humidity. Try it soon, whilst the prospect of eating outside still shimmers like the heat haze.
Makes enough for 2-3 people
Cupboard (or things you may already have)
olive oil, 150ml
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
spring onions, 2
flat-leaf parsley, 50g
other leafy, soft herbs, 25g (a mix, as you see fit, or can get, of mint, coriander, chives and tarragon)
Peel, trim and finely grate the garlic, de-pip the lemon and finely chop it then trim and finely slice the spring onions. Finely chop the herbs, then mix everything in a bowl with the olive oil and season. This will keep for a day or so but no longer (the herbs will start to turn a sludgy green which makes it a lot less appetising).