When it's hot outside no one wants to spend a lot of time in the kitchen and we live with a very simple diet. A handful of basil from the pot by the front door torn into a bowl of white cheese, peeled tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil has to be one of the tastiest dishes on earth.
In July, the wild thyme in the forest behind the house is in flower and the heady aromatic oils are at their strongest. Olives, oil and thyme flowers served with crusty bread and a cold beer makes a great lunch
If friends come to eat I feel as if I should make a bit more effort but am still reluctant to spend more than a few minutes prepping ingredients.
My failsafe recipe for summer lunches is sea bass with bay leaves.
Ingredients per person:
1 large potato, 1 large tomato, 1 red onion, all peeled and thinly sliced
1 sweet green pepper, deseeded and cut in half
Large slug of olive oil
Handful of basil and parsley
salt and pepper
1 small sea bass, gutted and descaled.
1 bay leaf.
Half cup of water, fish or vegetable stock.
1 whole garlic bulb - topped and tailed but not peeled.
Heat the oven to 200 degrees C
Put a good splash of olive oil in an oven proof dish, and add all the vegetables, seasoning, liquid and herbs except the bay leaves,
Cook in the oven until the potatoes are just soft.
Put a bay leaf inside each fish and place on top of the vegetables, baste the fish with the hot liquid, pour some olive oil over each fish and return to the oven for approximately 15 minutes until a knife slips easily between the backbone and the flesh.
Squeeze the now soft pulp from the garlic bulb into the remaining juice and stir to distribute. Leave to cool for about 10 minutes and then serve, allowing everyone to help themselves at the table and dip bread into the garlicky juice.