Sum­mer highs

With so much com­ing into sea­son, keep your en­ter­tain­ing sim­ple and fun, says Rose Prince. Pho­tog­ra­phy and prop styling by Yuki Sugiura. Food styling by Va­lerie Berry

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - Contents -

Rose Prince cel­e­brates sea­sonal in­gre­di­ents

STRIK­ING A BALANCE be­tween plenty and style is the essence of sum­mer party cook­ing. The chal­lenge is to make one stun­ning dish that goes a long way so ev­ery­one has their fill, but which is very low on ef­fort.

At this stage in the sum­mer, econ­omy comes into the plan so I seek out star in­gre­di­ents that are good value. In the height of the har­vest, we buy into ‘gluts’ of home-grown veg­eta­bles and fruits, and can af­ford to lit­er­ally pile them on to plates. Who can re­sist the sunny sweet­ness of just-picked cobs of corn, the var­i­ous berries, or­chard fruits, juicy root veg­eta­bles and new, lemony-flavoured pota­toes that are so abun­dant right now?

When veg­eta­bles such as cour­gettes are avail­able all year round, one for­gets how dif­fer­ent they are in their nat­u­ral sea­son. Look at the stalks, and you will see small, up­right prickly hairs, a sign of real fresh­ness – and this is re­flected in their flesh, which has none of the starch­i­ness of those kept a long time in cold stor­age. Cut into them and rivulets of sweet­ish juice will run out. This is the time to eat them raw, finely cut in a favourite salad with plenty of mixed herbs, thinly sliced radishes and a yo­gurt dress­ing. Add roasted beet­root for bulk and put flat­breads on the ta­ble – job done.

Sum­mer en­ter­tain­ing should be fun. I love a dish that gets fin­gers sticky, and chil­dren tend to love them too. Since they are home for hol­i­days, two recipes for this week are de­signed to keep them busy. Chicken wings can be bought in al­most in­dus­trial quan­ti­ties, chucked into a big pan and roasted slowly with nub­bly new pink fir ap­ple pota­toes. Driz­zled with a gar­lic may­on­naise, it is rather like eat­ing a meaty ver­sion of patatas bravas.

And I can’t get through Au­gust with­out corn on the cob, in this case made a big­ger dish with sprin­klings of smokysweet ba­con. A word of ad­vice: if they are sold with their husks on, you need to check they are fresh. Part the leaves of the husk to be sure that the corn kernels look pale yel­low and wrin­kle-free. When at their best, full of juice, piled on a big plat­ter, they look glossy and glo­ri­ous – and surely the epit­ome of high­sum­mer cook­ing.

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