The last remnants of summer in a bowl. This is the lean, green embodiment of the best of the vegetable patch - not mine though sadly, that moment has passed. Although the days are getting cooler and the mornings have a distinct nip in the air, my local shops and markets are still packed with crisp beans and leaves just crying out to be gently coaxed into a warm salad.
This dish has a sharp edge from the lemon and capers, so buddies up well with pan-fried fish, perhaps some crisp skinned sea bass or a silky piece of salmon. I've been eating it with a creamy scoop of potato dauphinoise on the side, made with some of the waxy Duke of York potatoes that I dug up a few weeks ago and now live in a dark cupboard under the stairs.
A WARM SALAD OF GREEN VEGETABLES AND SALSA VERDE
125g sugarsnap peas
125g green beans
1 large courgette, cut into 5mm slices
~for the salsa verde:
5 tbsp flat-leaf parsley leaves
3 tbsp mint leaves
6 preserved anchovy fillets
3 tbsp capers
1 fat clove of garlic
1 tbsp dijon mustard
the juice of ½ lemon
120ml/4fl oz of extra virgin olive oil
1) Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a deep frying pan and saute the courgette and green beans for a few minutes before adding the sugarsnap peas. Continue to cook for a couple of minutes longer, then add a few tablespoons of water, and pop on a lid to allow the vegetables to steam. Cook until the courgettes are cooked through, about five minutes. Now set them aside while you make the sauce.
2) Very finely chop the parsley, mint, capers, anchovies and garlic until they almost form a paste, then place in a bowl and stir in the mustard, lemon juice and olive oil. Taste, and add seasoning if necessary but the anchovies will be salty so you may not need to.
3) Now gently toss the warm, cooked vegetables with the watercress and sauce, and serve immediately.