Great British Chef Martin Wishart recommends the healthy summer ingredients that will spice up your home-cooked meals and explains why seasonal foods are always best.
Eating seasonal products can transform your everyday dishes and open up new flavour possibilities. To help you select the best produce and inspire you to try something different this summer, we asked restaurateur and Michelin-starred chef Martin Wishart for his go-to ingredients.
Which seasonal foods should we be on the lookout for right now?
August is one of my favourite months of the year as the wild grouse season begins on the twelfth. Grouse is a wild game bird that can be found on heathland areas across the UK, but particularly in the Scottish Highlands. It has less fat and more protein than chicken and has a strong, deep flavour, which is why it is so popular.
Other fantastic ingredients that I like to use at home and at work this time of year are: lamb; mackerel; scallops; summer berries; cherries; artichokes; and courgettes.
How would you typically prepare these ingredients?
For a quick lunch I like to slice courgettes and sauté them in a little rapeseed oil with a small amount of chilli, salt and garlic, and finish with a light drizzle of sherry vinegar.
I like to boil globe artichokes in salted water until tender and serve them alongside a simple vinaigrette dressed with chopped shallots and fresh herbs. You just pull off each leaf and dip into the vinaigrette and finish by eating the heart.
What are the benefits of eating seasonally?
Fruits and vegetables that are in season contain more nutrients than when they are forcibly grown out of season, so it’s healthier for us, and of course they usually taste better. We are also supporting local farmers and producers when we buy seasonally, and produce is often more affordable.
What ingredient do you wish people used more?
Venison, farmed or wild, sourced from a reputable supplier. It is very lean, tastes delicious and is simple to cook.
What ingredient do you wish people used less of?
Dried pasta. I know it’s convenient, but the process of making fresh pasta dough, rolling it out and cooking it is so much more fun and it tastes amazing.
What exciting food discoveries have you made recently?
I recently went to the fishing town of Garrucha in Andalusia, southern Spain, which is famous for its shellfish; particularly the Garrucha prawn. They are a beautiful red colour, very sweet and tender. The prawn’s breeding and fishing area is very limited, so they can be difficult to come by.
What chef is doing interesting things at the moment?
Jonnie Boer, the two Michelin-starred head chef at De Librije in the Netherlands is always seeking out new and interesting ingredients and techniques to amaze his customers. He is certainly one to watch.
Vitality has partnered with Great British Chefs to bring you a series of articles and recipes that showcase readily-available, healthy ingredients and inspire the #EverydayChef in all of us.