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With June hailing the official start of summer, the root vegetables and leafy greens of winter can make way for a colourful array of produce fit for picnics and garden gatherings. Read on for our round-up of this month’s seasonal best…
One of summer’s most bountiful vegetables, courgettes have a fresh, delicate flavour. Boiling is best avoided as they can become mushy, so, instead, lightly fry slices in oil or butter. Alternatively, ribbon with a vegetable peeler and enjoy raw in a vinaigrette, or griddle for a lovely, charred smokiness.
Try it: Roasted courgette pesto pasta
Here, courgettes are roasted and blitzed to give a pesto-like sauce for pasta. Ideal for a healthy midweek meal ready in just 30 minutes.
A stand-out staple of summer, British-grown strawberries simply can’t be beaten. Enjoy them fresh at their juicy best or try roasting or macerating them to intensify their sweetness. Pile into bowls with cream, plop into a jug of Pimm’s or try them with balsamic vinegar or a crack of black pepper.
Try it: Strawberry cheesecake loaf
Put a spin on your strawberries in this crowd-pleasing cheesecake loaf cake.
3. Broad beans
Fresh broad beans need to be popped out their tough outer skins, but they’re even better double podded. Blanch in boiling water for one minute and plunge into cold water. Slip out of their pale green pods before cooking briefly again until al dente. Broad beans work brilliantly in risottos, pasta dishes, salads and more.
Perfect for a light summer lunch, broad beans are blended with lemon, yogurt, garlic and feta for a tasty toast topper in only 20 minutes.
This sweet and slightly earthy tasting root has enjoyed a deserved comeback in recent years, gracing restaurant menus once again. Beetroot is packed with healthy antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, with the deep purple variety boasting cancer-fighting properties. They can be grated raw into salads or cooked by boiling or baking in foil. Beetroot can stand up to bold flavours and pairs well with ingredients such as feta, mustard, citrus and spice.
These vegetarian fritters are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Serve as they are with the horseradish and dill yogurt or add curls of smoked salmon for an indulgent brunch.
5. Runner beans
One of the easiest vegetables to grow, you may well find yourself with a runner bean glut. Luckily, they’re very versatile and can be boiled, steamed or stir-fried. Remove the stringy bits by running a vegetable peeler down each side and then slice into bite-sized chunks or long, slender ribbons. At their most flavoursome when tender, young runner beans are delicious simply blanched and buttered.
Runner beans pair well with smoked bacon lardons in this simple side dish. It can be served hot or at room temperature, alongside roast chicken, steak or fish.