Food

Sun day roast: give your classic roast dinner a summery twist

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Helen Bownass
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Winter’s most traditional meal gets a summer makeover. Stylist’s entertainment editor Helen Bownass, inventor of the Summer Roast™, explains all…

I invented the Summer Roast™ in June 2010. I always knew that one day I’d invent something to change the world – something I’d take on Dragons’ Den only to watch Meaden et al combust with enthusiasm.

I was cooking for my book group and it was 10 degrees hotter than expected, making the planned roast unthinkably miserable. So I decided to give my original plan a twist. And from then on, the Summer Roast™ has been my go-to for an impressive feast on a warm day.

Every element of your traditional roast is represented, only with a summer slant. So there’s roasted meat (or stuffed peppers for veggies) but think a lamb leg rubbed with harissa and piled with fresh pomegranate. There are potatoes, cubed and roasted, made into a salad with lemon zest, capers and chives. There’s probably a carrot, but it’s ‘slawed’, and peas, in shoot form.

When I first mentioned the idea to colleagues, it was met with derision. No-one could accept that the cherished roast could (or should) be bastardised. But as with all great inventions, their scorn soon turned to downright plagiarism.

Now it’s time to take the Summer Roast™ global. Below, chef Angela Hartnett gives her spin on my culinary concept. What’s that Deborah Meaden? You want to give me £9m for 10% of Summer Roast Inc? I’ll pass, thanks. But when you’re ready to discuss The Crisp Buffet™, I’m all ears…

It’s a Sunday roast… but not as you know it

Michelin-starred chef Angela Hartnett gives her top summer roasting tips. Now, where’s the best cutlery?

Summer roast

The main event

“Give lamb a seasonal twist by adding a squeeze of lemon, orange, a touch of cumin and a sprinkle of white pepper and put a halved orange in the roasting tin. Lamb is fibrous so slow roasting works best but it’s also very good barbecued. For a more adventurous summer flavour, try spiking it with lavender before roasting. It’s fragrant but light. Veal, slow roasted loin of pork and beef bavette also work well in the summer, as they’re good barbecued. And chicken is delicious with lemon and rosemary. For veggie guests, stuff peppers or tomatoes with caponata, a traditional Sicilian stew of aubergines, garlic, breadcrumbs, peppers and capers. Or roast a cauliflower covered with cumin and mustard mascarpone.”

Salsa verde

“If you’re keen on gravy try lightening it with vinaigrette but I’d rather serve salsa verde. Blitz flat-leaf parsley, capers, anchovy fillets, garlic, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and tarragon in a food processor, gradually adding olive oil until a thick paste forms.”

Potatoes

“Swap out heavy roast potatoes for a potato salad made with boiled new potatoes, vinaigrette, shallots and parsley or cubed, shallow fried potatoes sprinkled with coarse sea salt.”

Panzanella

“This Tuscan bread and tomato salad is perfect for using up ripe tomatoes. Toast 200g focaccia in the oven with olive oil and sea salt, then toss with 500g ripe tomatoes, 10 anchovy fillets, a handful of basil and vinaigrette. Celeriac gratin also works instead of a heavy carb. To slices of blanched celeriac and fennel, add herbs, garlic, a little cream, parmesan and chilli.”

Courgette fritti

“Instead of Yorkshire puddings, try courgette fritti: they’re fried and moreish but light. Heat oil in a deep pan to 180ºC, julienne three courgettes, dip in milk then flour, shake off excess and fry until golden brown.”

Drinks

“With lamb in summer, a white or rosé wine [such as Rustenberg Petit Verdot Rosé 2014, South Africa, £8.99 Waitrose] is nice or find a chilled red – I like a cold pinot noir.”

Made by Angela Hartnett at Cafe Murano; cafemurano.co.uk

Photography: Nato Wleton
Additional words: Zoe Beaty, Alexandra Jones

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