For all the pleasure of discovering new breweries, the thrill of the can release, there’s an abiding satisfaction in returning to the classics.
Not long ago, I realised it had been years since I’d enjoyed a bottle of Weihenstephan’s flawless Hefe Weissbier. Among the finest examples of the style around, heady with clove and banana, it’s far from trendy - novelty isn’t a virtue most associated with a brewery that traces its origins to 725 - but it’s gorgeous, ever-satisfying, and worth making a part of your regular rotation.
That it’s additionally food-friendly is one more advantage. You’ll often find it paired with curries and barbecue fare, though it also works beautifully with more delicate flavours. Like this exquisitely simple summer salad.
This recipe is my take on a dish I recently encountered at Trangallán, a Spanish restaurant in Newington Green that may be one of London’s loveliest tables. I ordered it once and then had to return the following week to have it again. It’s rare to find a dish that, with so few ingredients, still totally beguiles.
For the recipe to work, it is of the utmost importance that you use the very best summer tomatoes you can find, sun-fattened and heavy with juice. Add thin wedges of strawberries (which really do pair well with tomatoes), translucent panes of mojama (cured tuna that adds a balancing element of umami), toasted Marcona almonds and two varieties of basil. Make the simplest of vinaigrettes, with fresh lemon juice, rice vinegar, and the very best olive oil you have in your cupboard, and you’ve done it. Caprese aside, it’s hard to think of a better recipe for the dog days.
Strawberry, Tomato, and Mojama Salad
For the dressing:
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tbs rice vinegar
120ml high-quality extra virgin olive oil
Large pinch Maldon sea salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
100g Marcona almonds
5-6 large heirloom tomatoes
200g strawberries, hulled
1 large bunch purple basil
12 slices mojama
10g basil micro-greens
Maldon sea salt, to taste
First, make the dressing. Add all ingredients to a bowl or jar with a lid, and whisk/shake to emulsify. Set aside.
To make your salad, first toast the Marcona almonds. Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add the almonds and toss frequently for 5-6 minutes, or until fragrant and golden-brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Slice your heirloom tomatoes finely. Cut the strawberries into thin wedges.
To construct your salad, scatter the purple basil leaves across four plates. Divide the heirloom tomato slices and strawberries between the plates; top each plate with three slices of mojama. Garnish with the almonds and basil-greens. Drizzle the dressing generously over each; crown with a final sprinkling of Maldon sea salt.
Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beerhound and all-around lover of tasty things. When she's not cracking open a cold one, she's probably cooking up roasted lamb with hummus. Or chicken laksa. Or pumpkin bread. You can follow her at @clairembullen. Pick up a bottle of Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier in store or at our online shop.