A selection of delicious al fresco recipes for balmy summer nights
With summer now in full swing, Chef Theo Randall at the InterContinental Park Lane has whipped up a selection of his best Italian recipes, easy to recreate for any dinner party or BBQ at home. From mouth-watering Panzanella to a tangy Amalfi lemon tart, Chef Theo’s recipes bring London fine dining to your very own patio.
Spiedino of Sausages with Dandelion Cannellini Bean Salad
For this recipe, it is important that you use fat, well-seasoned Tuscan sausages, which are made with a combination of cured and fresh meat. You can get them from most Italian delis. The bread on the rosemary sticks goes really crispy from the sausage fat and tastes great.
2 sturdy sticks of rosemary, 20cm long
6 x 2cm cubes sourdough bread
6 slices pancetta
4 Tuscan sausages, each cut across into 4 pieces
4 plum tomatoes, each cut into quarters
For the cannellini bean salad
1 x 400g tin of cooked cannellini beans, drained and rinsed.
1/2 large radicchio, leaves separated
1 bunch of dandelion, washed and trimmed.
1 head of romaine lettuce, cut into 2cm slices
1 tbsp coarsely chopped mint
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 chopped red chilli, seeds removed.
- Light your bbq an hour before cooking the spiedinos.
Remove the leaves from the rosemary sticks, except for the leafy top.
- Wrap each cube of bread in a slice of pancetta. Thread the pieces of sausage, pancetta-wrapped bread and tomato quarters on to the rosemary sticks, alternating the
ingredients and dividing them equally between the sticks.
- Lay the rosemary skewers on the outsides of a hot bbq and cook slowly on both sides,
making sure the sausage and bread do not burn
- Meanwhile, make the cannellini bean salad. Combine the Cannellini beans, dandelion, heart of romaine slices, radicchio leaves, and mint in a salad bowl.
Dress with the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and seasoning.
- Serve the skewers hot with the salad on the side. Add some chopped fresh chilli and a drizzle of olive oil.
Chicken Liver and Pancetta Salad
250g cleaned chicken livers
1 sprig of sage
100g sliced pancetta
100g lentils di Castelluccio or puy
2tbls aged balsamic vinegar
4tbls olive oil
250g mixed leaves like radicchio, dandelion, rocket, castelfranco.
1. In a frying pan cook the pancetta until crispy.
2. Remove from the pan, add the chicken livers and cook until golden brown.
3. Put the pancetta back in the pan with the chicken livers and add the chopped sage. Add 1tbls of balsamic vinegar to the pan, toss all together and season.
4. Cook the lentils for approx 25minutes or until soft. Drain off water, season and add olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.
5. In a large bowl add 1tblsp of balsamic vinegar and 3 tbsp of olive oil. Mix together with the spring leaves and lentils.
6. Put on a plate and place the chicken livers and pancetta carefully on top.
Serves 4 as a starter
2 red peppers
1 loaf of dry ciabatta bread
300g heritage tomatoes, preferably of mixed colours
1 heaped tsp small capers in vinegar
For the dressing
400g ripe plum tomatoes
1 garlic clove, peeled
Small bunch of basil
150ml extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 heaped tsp small capers in vinegar, drained
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat a hot grill, then char the red peppers on all sides. Put them in a bowl and cover
with cling film. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before scraping off the charred skin with a
serrated knife. Rinse off the seeds, then rip the peppers into 1cm strips. Set aside.
- Make the dressing while the peppers are cooling in the bowl. Score the skin of the
tomatoes, then put them into a pan of boiling water and leave to blanch for 1 minute. Lift
into a bowl of cold water with a slotted spoon, then peel off the skins. Crush the garlic with
1 teaspoon sea salt in a pestle and mortar until smooth. Add the basil, pounding it to a
paste. Squeeze the peeled tomatoes to a pulp, then add to the garlic the olive oil, red wine
vinegar and capers. Mix well together.
- Remove the crusts from the ciabatta, then cut into 2cm pieces. Put them in a large salad
bowl and add the grilled peppers. Pour over the tomato dressing and toss well so the bread
can soak up all the dressing.
- Roughly cut up the heritage tomatoes and toss with the rest of the basil leaves in a
separate bowl. Spread the tomatoes and basil over the top of the salad, then add the
capers. Clean up the sides of the bowl before serving.
“If you only have very soft, fresh bread, try baking it for a few minutes to harden it – then it
will absorb the dressing without going soggy.”
- THEO RANDALL
Cured beef with shaved green and yellow courgettes, Parmesan slivers, olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar.
16 thin slices of black Angus carne salata
70g of Parmesan shavings
2 small courgettes
2 tbsp of European pine nuts
1 tbsp of aged balsamic vinegar
1/2 lemon 3 tbsp of olive oil
1. Carefully place the 4 slices of carne salata on a plate so they slightly overlap. Squeeze the lemon juice, olive oil, and aged balsamic on top, using the back of a spoon carefully spread this over the meat. In a bowl mix the remaining olive oil and juice of lemon, add salt and pepper then add the rocket. Using a potato peeler, peel large slices of courgette into the
bowl. Mix well and season. Place on top of the carne salata in a mound in the middle, add the Parmesan shavings and sprinkle over the pine nuts.
Amalfi Lemon Tart
45 minutes preparation time | Makes a 26cm tart to serve 8
250g Plain flour
75g Icing sugar
2 Egg yolks
FOR THE FILLING
Grated zest of 5 Amalfi lemons
150ml freshly squeezed Amalfi lemon juice
300g caster sugar
300g unsalted butter, chilled
6 whole organic eggs
9 organic egg yolks
- Place the flour, icing sugar and butter in a food processor and mix until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the yolks and pulse for 10 seconds. Pour into a bowl and bind it together by hand. Leave it to rest in the fridge for one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the tart case with baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Blind bake for 15 minutes until golden in colour. Remove the paper and baking beans, then return the tart case to the oven to bake for a further 5 minutes. Brush all over
the inside of the case with egg wash to seal. Bake for another 5 minutes, then set aside.
- Preheat the grill to high. For the filling, combine the lemon zest and juice, sugar, and butter in a heavy-based saucepan and heat gently until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved. Whisk the eggs and yolks together in a bowl, then add to the saucepan. Stir over a
medium heat until the custard mixture thickens (make sure it doesn’t boil or the eggs will curdle). Still stirring, pour the filling into the tart case.
- Place the tart under the grill and cook until black dots appear on the surface of the filling.
Leave to cool and set before serving.