The Menu

A taste of summer

Issue 2 · Summer 2015

The tastiest holiday dishes are often simple local classics using the finest regional produce, says Scott Dunn Executive Chef Rob Daley

Issue 2 · Summer 2015

The tastiest holiday dishes are often simple local classics using the finest regional produce, says Scott Dunn Executive Chef Rob Daley

Mediterranean food is no longer something we enjoy only on holiday. For many of us, it has become our daily style of cooking and eating: light, ingredient-led dishes that are easy to prepare and make the most of what’s in season. The weekly shop is now as likely to contain buffalo mozzarella and aubergines as good old cheddar and carrots. But besides our much-loved Med standards, there is always something new to discover. As Scott Dunn Executive Chef Rob Daley puts it, “Mediterranean food is a vibrant cuisine that’s constantly evolving – from the latest modern creations to long-lost dishes, working their way back onto the restaurant menu.”

One such case in point is coca, a tart with a pizza-like base that’s enjoying a revival all over the Med at the moment, particularly in Mallorca. “Traditionally coca is a peasant farmer’s food,” says Daley, “but recently the best restaurants across Mallorca are competing to produce the best house coca. Our guests love sampling all the different variations at the end of a long, hot day with a glass of something chilled, and it’s so easy to replicate your favourite version back home.” Toppings include everything from mushrooms and artichokes to red peppers, olives and anchovies, and there are sweet versions too, with fresh figs, honey and almonds, or a cake-style version made using apricots.

At our Scott Dunn villas the chefs relish the chance to get creative. “They go down to the local market and do a thorough recce of all that’s around, before buying up the very best ingredients, whether that’s particularly fresh seafood from the fishmongers, or perfectly ripe fruit and veg,” says Rob. “Then they’ll create a menu around making the most of the produce, which is sometimes a classic dish like bouillabaisse or tuna niçoise, and other times something simple that really allows the hero ingredient to sing.”

And the pièce de résistance? “You can’t do better than a big leg of butterflied lamb, marinated and cooked on the barbecue, and served with spring onion and romesco sauce, a Catalan accompaniment made with red peppers and almonds. It’s a fun sharing dish that everyone can dig in to that’s a world away from a bowlful of uninspiring midweek pasta. It’s what eating on holiday is all about.”


Images: Becky Stayner, Alamy

Barbecued leg of lamb with garlic and cumin seeds

 

Serves 6
 

A Mediterranean-inspired marinade adds some heat to a barbecue favourite.
 

Ingredients

  • 1 leg of lamb, butterflied by your butcher
  • 1 lemon coarse sea salt for the marinade:
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 red chilli, deseeded (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil juice of a lemon

 

Method

  • Combine all the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl the day before you’d like to eat.
  • Pierce holes in the lamb with a small, sharp knife, pour the marinade over it and massage it in.
  • Refrigerate the meat overnight and take it out the next morning to come to room temperature.
  • Light your barbecue an hour and a half before you want to sit down to eat. When the coals are golden (after about 25-30 minutes), place the lamb on the grill. Keep the leftover marinade for basting.
  • Leave the lamb alone until it is golden on one side, then turn it over. Once the second side is golden, turn the leg more regularly and keep basting it with the remaining marinade until it is cooked to your preference (about 40 minutes for medium).
  • Remove the lamb from the barbecue and set it aside to rest until you are ready to serve.
  • To serve, carve the lamb into thick slices, squeeze half a lemon over it and season with sea salt. Place on a warm serving dish or platter.

Mallorcan coca

 

Serves 4

 

You can top this simple base with any combination of ingredients, sweet or savoury, to create your own signature coca. Pictured is coca topped with leftover Samfaina, the Catalan version of ratatouille, topped with fresh ricotta cheese and sea salt.

 

Ingredients

  • 500g/4 cups plain flour
  • 25g/1oz fresh yeast or 1 packet of dried yeast
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 50g/2oz lard salt
  • 1 cup lukewarm water

 

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F/200°C
  • Put the warm water in a mixing bowl and dissolve the yeast in it.
  • Add the lard or margarine if you prefer. Then mix in the flour gradually, until the mixture leaves the side of the bowl.
  • Form a ball and let the dough rest for around half an hour.
  • Oil a baking sheet and place the dough in the centre, then stretch it out with your hands until it fills up the entire tray. Press it down to ensure an even thickness throughout.
  • Place your toppings on the base, if you want them to be cooked rather than fresh, and drizzle the top with olive oil and sea salt.
  • Bake your coca for around an hour, until the crust is nicely golden.
  • Finish with any other ingredients or herbs that you’d like to add, and another drizzle of olive oil.
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