Nigella Lawson, the internationally renown taste maker shares recipes using tomatoes and lemons, both of which are in juicy abundance right now, from her cookbook “Forever Summer”, which is also the name of her cable TV show on the Style network. Check them out below.
COLD ROAST BEEF WITH LEMON SALADNigella Lawson
THE ROAST BEEF you see to in advance; the salad you do just before you eat. Although, I should add, in case you’re getting nervous, it doesn’t spoil on sitting during the ordinary course of the evening (or indeed lunch). And I love this salad either with the beef as it is or when hot, either way carved into tender pink slices and abundantly. I should also tell you that I make it often, in reduced form, as an easy but treaty supper for two, with a quickly grilled fillet steak, to be shared and sliced on top, tagliata-style, wafer thin and oozing its red juices over the tangy salad. This reduced form often means a lemon, peeled, sliced and chopped, left to steep in oil, salt, chilli and parsley while I’m cooking the steak and then tossed through a package of designer leaves with some Parmesan shaved off with a vegetable peeler. It follows, too, that the leaves indicated for the salad here are meant to be a suggestion only: I love the tough bitterness of radicchio alongside the juicy sourness of the lemons and toothsome saltiness of the shards of Parmesan, but a plain green salad, boosted with the chilli-prinked lemon, is pretty damn fine as it is.
And whether you choose to eat the roast beef hot or cold with this, I implore you to add a pile of sweet, fluffy-tummied baked potatoes alongside. I wouldn’t provide butter to melt within, though, but bowls of cold crème fraiche or some sour cream flecked with chopped chives.
Preheat the oven to 425 Fahrenheit. For rare beef, cook for 12 minutes per pound; it will continue cooking as it cools so be prepared to take it out of the oven when it still looks underdone to you.
This should give you divinely ruby-rare roast beef; obviously, though, cook for longer if you want it less red. Anyway, set aside till cool. If, however, you’re going to eat the roast beef rare and hot, then just stick it in the hottest oven you can for 15 minutes and then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and cook it for 15 minutes per pound plus 15 minutes at the end. I’m hesitant about making this all sound too exact, because ovens vary enormously and the length of time it take to roast rare roast beef in one oven can leave it either leathery and overcooked or still cold in the middle in another. Perhaps I exaggerate, but not by much. Probably the best advice is to say to go slowly and test often, though not stabbing (you don’t want to lose all of the glorious red juices) but by pressing: when the beef’s rare it will feel soft and eiderdown-bouncy to the touch; when medium rare it will feel springy; when well cooked it will have pretty much no bounce left in it. Of course, you can pierce with a knife to make really sure, but just try to leave that to the end, rather than puncture repeatedly throughout its cooking.
To make the salad, cut the tops and bottoms off the lemons. Sit them upright on a board on one end, and cut away the zest and pith from top to bottom with a sharp knife till only the juicy lemon remains. Now slice into rounds then chop each round into about four, and place on a large plate or shallow bowl. Sprinkle the salt over them then scatter with the chopped chillies and parsley and pour over the oil. Leave to steep while you carve the beef and get on with the rest of the salad. Which simply means, tear the frisee, radicchio and romaine hearts into rough pieces and mix together in a large bowl. Shave in most of the Parmesan with a vegetable peeler and pour in most of the lemon chunks, and all their oily juices. Mix together thoroughly with your fingers then decant onto a couple of large, flat serving plates (I so much prefer salad on plates than in bowls), adding any more oil (or indeed lemon juice) if you think the dressing needs thus augmenting, then add the remaining lemon chunks and shave in a final few slithering curls of Parmesan. I regard this as pretty well instant, all-year sunshine, so maybe here’s the place to sneak in the suggestion that you consider this (perhaps with a squeeze of Seville orange juice should this be possible) with your leftover Christmas turkey. After all, when more do you need the hint of, even artificial, sun?
912377860484325485455427771 top loin or tenderloin5.5pound5 1/2 pounds (or thereabouts) top loin or tenderloin if you feeling extravagant (or whatever cut of beef you prefer)lemons55 lemonsmaldon1teaspoon1 teaspoon Maldon or other sea saltred chillies33 fresh red chillies, seeded and finely choppedparsley5tablespoon5 tablespoons fresh parsley, choppedextra-virgin olive oil5tablespoon5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oilfrisee lettuce1head1 head frisee (curly endive) lettuceradicchio2head2 heads radicchioromaine lettuce hearts44 romaine lettuce heartsblock parmesan3ounceApprox. 3-ounce block Parmesan
SPAGHETTINI AL SUGO CRUDO Nigella Lawson
Serves 6 as a starter; 4 as a light main course.
In Italy, pasta al sugo, pasta with a sauce, meant the sauce, tomato sauce, and this, when the tomatoes are raw, and the sauce in more of a fragrant, olive-oil-soused salad tumbled over hot pasta, is my favorite variant. It’s the first thing I make when I hit Italy, not just because this is best eaten under an Italian sun, but because this is best made with Italian tomatoes-by which I mean tomatoes that taste of tomatoes. I like tomatoes that are a bit smaller than the palm of my hand, preferably with stalk and indeed stem still attached, and I never, under any circumstances, keep them in the refrigerator.
Blanch the tomatoes by putting them in a large bowl, pouring over boiling water from a kettle to cover, and letting them sit for a few minutes. Drain them, peel them (the blanching makes this easy: just cut with the tip of a knife and the skins will come off easily) then halve them and scoop out the seeds. Cut out the cores (this is probably easier once you’ve quartered them) then chop them; I use my mezzaluna for this, though an ordinary sharp knife would do just fine. Scoop them up, put them in a bowl, stir in the sugar and sprinkle with sea salt and grind in some pepper. Lean on the garlic clove with the flat side of a knife to bruise it and peel off the skin and add the smashed clove to the tomatoes in the bowl along with the oil. Stir together brutally with a fork-though I tend to use my immersion blender (like a small whisk made of a beard-shaped coil of wire) for this; I want to beat this into more of a sauce-and cover with plastic wrap and leave, out of the refrigerator, for at least half an hour and up to 8 hours.
Cook pasta according to the package instructions and once drained, pick out he garlic clove from the tomatoes in the bowl and throw away, tossing the soused tomatoes into the hot spaghettini. I don’t like grated Parmesan with this, but I often make it with a ball of buffalo mozzarella, diced and stirred into the tomato sauce a minute before combining sauce and pasta. When I’m in Tuscany, I like to use instead a handful of diced pecorino toscano, which is softer, crumblier and sweeter and with a creamier tang than the hard, sharp pecorino Romano used for usual gratin. This is also wonderful, and helps with less fulsomely tomatoey tomatoes, when you add the juice of half a lemon to he tomatoes in the bowl and grate over the zest of a lemon as you toss the pasta in the sauce at the end. Needless to say — I’d presume — any of these variants taste wonderful with a handful of basil leaves, shredded or torn up at the last minute (otherwise they’ll start to blacken), some tossed thought the sauce before it goes onto the pasta, and some scattered over the pasta afterwards.
9123778604816048932548604826048660487tomatoes2pound2 pounds 3 ounces fabulous tomatoesgranulated sugar1teaspoon1 teaspoon granulated sugarmaldonMaldon or other sea saltblack pepperBlack peppergarlic1clove1 clove garlicextra-virgin olive oil0.5cup1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oilspaghettini1pound1 pound spaghettini
Excerpted from “Forever Summer” by Nigella Lawson. Copyright © 2003 by Nigella Lawson. Published by Hyperion. All rights resereved. No part of this excerpt can be used without permission of the publisher.