The herb patch has been taken over by mint again so I am putting it in everything. Here are some recipes in case, like me, you’re bored of having it in green salads and teas.
This can be served hot, cold or at room temperature. It’s good with char griddled tuna too and sometimes I put black olives in at the tomato stage.
Aubergine & mint salad with toasted goats cheese
1 red onion, chopped; 2 cloves garlic, sliced; 1 large aubergine, cut into thick chunks; 6 plum tomatoes, skinned and seeds removed; good bunch of mint, chopped; olive oil; Pinch sugar; salt & pepper; squeeze of lemon juice; 2 slices of firm goats cheese
Put a generous glug of olive oil into a deep frying pan and heat. Add onions and cook gently until beginning to soften. Add garlic & aubergine and cook for 5 minutes, stirring well. Add more olive oil if the onions start to catch on the bottom of the pan. Add tomatoes and cook another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with sugar, ½ tsp salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in the mint and lemon juice. Heat the grill on high. Place goats cheese onto a greased metal tray, underneath the grill. Cook until just browned on top. Place aubergines onto plates and top with the cheese.
Inspired by a 3 for 2 offer in the supermarket on vegetables, I tried this recipe of broad beans and black pudding from a new cookbook; Rick Stein’s Spain. I’m not a fan of Pernod but it adds a warmth to the end result and the dish itself is really fresh. Next day, I re-heated the left-overs with a little more stock and put grilled cod on top
Faves a la catalana
225g streaky bacon, chopped; 12 spring onions, chopped, green parts separated from white; 100ml olive oil; 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced; 625g fresh broad beans, shelled; 2 fresh bay leaves; 1 big handful mint leaves, chopped; 2tbsp Pernod; 225mls chicken stock; 150g black pudding, thickly sliced; salt & pepper
Heat olive oil in a shallow pan. Add bacon and gently fry until golden. Add white parts of onions and garlic and cook until soft. Add broad beans and gently cook 2-3 minutes. Add bay leaves, mint, Pernod, chicken stock and good pinch of salt. Add black pudding, pushing it underneath the beans. Cover and simmer for 4 minutes. Uncover and simmer until the liquid has reduced and almost disappeared ( I only reduced it by half so that it was a more liquid dish) Lift out the black pudding and chop into smaller pieces. Add green parts of the onions and cook 1 minute. Mix black pudding back in and serve with crusty bread.
Finally, dinner with friends and they served an old favourite…
Scallops with pancetta and a pea & mint puree
For 4 people as a starter
12 scallops, lightly coated in olive oil, ground cumin, salt & pepper; 8 slices pancetta; 2 tbsp olive oil; 250g frozen peas (or fresh); 2 spring onions, chopped; 25g butter; 100mls vegetable/chicken stock; good handful fresh mint; 1 tbsp crème fraiche
Bring stock to the boil. Add peas and spring onions. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Tip into food processor along with the butter, mint, crème fraiche, salt and pepper and blend to a puree. Heat grill on high. Place pancetta on a metal tray and cook under the grill for 2- 3 minutes until crisp. Remove from the heat and keep warm. Heat a frying pan until hot and pour in oil. CAREFULLY place scallops in the pan. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side.
To assemble – Place a dollop of pea puree on each plate and place scallops on top. Finish with the pancetta. Decorate with fancy herbs/salad bits if you like