I love them and wait all year to get some during their short season. Great in risotto, fish dishes, sautéed with cherry tomatoes, capers and basil.
As a little snack with vino. Mix of breadcrumbs, garlic and parsley stuffed into each leave and then steam them in a pot with chicken stock. To eat you pull each artichoke leave out of the heart and pull the flesh and the stuffing off with your front teeth. Delicious!
If you don’t want to eat them, they make a beautiful home flower decoration. Plus, globe artichoke is a great antioxidant and helps your boozy liver to regenerate.
Noel Cimadon, Clarence Bistro
Or more specifically a soda stream that makes sparkling water is my essential ingredient in the summertime. Notorious for not drinking enough water, a glass of sparkling seems so much more sexy! Plus, when entertaining you can easily whip up a refreshing non-alcoholic option for guests, and just as importantly NO single use plastic bottles.
Having sparkling water on hand also means you can create light batter for that freshly caught fish or the delicately stuffed zucchini flower.
Vicki Ravlich-Horan – Nourish Magazine Editor
Roasted Red Peppers
My essential summer ingredient has to be roasted red peppers! They add fabulous flavour and colour to dips (especially homemade hummus), pizza, pasta, platters, roast veggies and salads. I always have them in a jar in the fridge and get rather tetchy when I run out.
Anna Greentree – Vetro Hamilton
I always have a couple of different vinegars on hand during summer to make a variety of salad dressings and marinades. Balsamic vinegar is always a favourite but also try raspberry, tarragon or white balsamic. Experiment with different flavour combinations: simply mix 1 part vinegar to 2 parts oil and add some Dijon or grainy mustard and any other flavours of your choice such as honey, maple syrup, herbs, garlic, harissa, tahini or soy sauce. Vinegars are also great with berries and stone fruits over summer, such as balsamic or raspberry vinegar, and strawberries or mixed berries, parfaits or tarts.
Brigid Sullivan, La Cave Hamilton
Lemon Flavoured Olive Oil
I use it on literally everything!
Angela Finnegan, Bayleys
Flaky Sea Salt
I’d love to say basil and lemon and a really great first press olive oil, but for me, edging out all of these by a slither (I hold them pretty much on the same glorious gourmet pedestal) will have to be flaky sea salt. When it’s hot, a good sprinkle of natural sea salt that has a smooth mouth finish is my summer essential—on savoury and sweet dishes. I’m a total fiend for it.
Greg from Hauraki Salt Co hand harvests from waters just down the road from where I live. His carefully created salt is the perfect finish, plus you can’t get more local, which I love.
Fiona Hugues, stylist and food writer
I think summer and I think tuatua, the sweet/briny little molluscs that my family has gathered and eaten over countless sunny holidays at Mt Maunganui.
Sometimes, sadly, they are absent from our plates due to detection of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) in the stock and bans on harvesting them.
But in the good years, when there are bumper healthy beds for the picking, we do the “tuatua shuffle” in the surf at the Mount’s Tay Street Beach and bring home buckets of bounty for backyard feasting.
Mostly we mince the flesh and make a batter for crisp, golden tuatua fritters. I also like them raw, wrapped in fresh bread, with just a squeeze of lemon and a touch of salt and black pepper.
For something a bit fancier, I cook tuatua gently in the shell, in a Mediterranean-style white wine broth flavoured with thyme, parsley, shallots, garlic, tomatoes and saffron. You need lots of crusty bread to mop up the sweet juices. Or I flash-grill them in the half-shell, topped with a dash of balsamic vinegar, a dusting of Parmesan, and chopped herbs to serve.
Whatever way you eat tuatua, it is essential to soak them overnight in seawater so they spit out their sand. This avoids eating mouthfuls of grit with your kaimoana!
Denise Irvine, food writer
My essential summer ingredient is most definitely tomatoes! They make summer, well … summery and are so versatile. We eat them fresh by the bucketload, dehydrate and roast them and bottle tons to enjoy in the middle of winter.
Emma Galloway, My Darling Lemon Thyme
Rum n Cue Rubs
At the moment it would have to be a great little NZ BBQ company Rum n Cue who make awesome rubs and the best BBQ sauce “Meat Juice” which is super nice! But their newest stuff is a garlic butter or truffle butter seasoning which is f#$%ing off the hook. Sprinkle some in mash or over BBQ veggies like asparagus or whatever, add to rubs before or after cooking, put a pinch on cooked steak—it’s so versatile, definitely a must have for summer. ??
Paul Fitch, Mousey Brown
Basil means summer to me! The smell and the colour are so summery. It’s also a time when my garden is full of basil and I’m making a lot of pesto, using basil in pastas, and accompanying basil with beautiful fresh tomatoes from the garden—also, bruschetta!
George – Elizabeth Cafe
I love their burst of flavour and the memories of summer they evoke. Plus they have such a variety of uses, are full of Vitamin C, and so many healthy values.
Sue Dewes-Hodgson, Tranquillo Beauty
In particular Zany Zeus’ Greek Yoghurt. It can be used in so many ways from breakfasts to desserts. I love making a simple dressing with cumin and yoghurt.
Jenny Meban, Vetro Rotorua