A Salmoriglio summer

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I am rather fond of Champagne, all of the time. But I particularly like it when it’s not supposed to be there; like when it’s a Tuesday, with a takeaway, or alongside beans on toast just because you feel like it – that kind of thing. Last night was one of those such moments – the BSG and I had it (rather too much of it…) with our Italian fennel sausages, ratatouille and polenta. Oh, and a zingy Italian sauce: my new favourite thing.

I think I have mentioned in the past that absolutely nothing grows in our garden that I would like to be there, in fact random uninvited plants have taken root much more successfully than invited ones, so I have nobly let them stay. One exception and a product of all this rain is our marjoram/oregano (still not quite sure which it is – but for today’s ends, let’s call it the latter). It is a sprawling, fragrant monster and I love to brush my hand over it and scrunch it to release the aromas into the air. As well as scrunching it, I thought I might have to think of something clever to make with it.

And there it was, the answer, salmoriglio. An Italian recipe required expertise of the highest order in that cuisine so I went to those legendary River Café ladies. Their blue book offered me what I sought and oh, what an amazing, pungent offering. Move over, salsa verde. So long, mayo, mustard and ketchup. This heady paste is my sauce for the coming months, it sounds like sunshine, is great with fish, meat, veg, eggs, rice, everything. And apparently summer’s here….at last.

Here’s the recipe. The BSG and I threw armfuls of the stuff into the mix. YUM.

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Salmoriglio – from the River Cafe Cookbook (BLUE)

(I reckon you will want to quadruple this, but shouldn’t think it keeps that well – gets grassier by the minute, so make as fresh as possible, as and when you need it)

4 level tablespoons fresh oregano/marjoram
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

In a pestle and mortar pound the herb leaves with the salt until completely crushed. Add the lemon juice. Pour the oil slowly into the mixture. Add a little pepper.