Umami is the culinary buzzword of 2022. But 33% of people are confused about how to make this mysterious burst of super-savouriness, especially in the summertime. Associated with dark, rich flavours, umami packed meals are naturally perfect for winter- so how do we get an umami inspired hit in the summer?
Gousto’s recipe developer, Sophie Nahmad, has curated her bests tips, flavour pairings and recipes to get a summer inspired umami hit. Watermelon Gazpacho anyone?
How to pack an umami hit into your summer meals
Umami is the buzzword for foodies in 2022. Classic umami ingredients like miso paste, mushrooms, and cured pork, tend to be associated with rich, dark, smoky flavours -perfect for cosying up with in winter.
But the fifth taste doesn’t come out of hibernation for just one season, it changes with the time of year. From recipes with earthy flavours in the winter, umami transitions to ripe, delicious notes in the warmer months.
So how can we unlock it in the warmer months? Gousto’s Chef, Sophie Nahmad, has delved into Gousto’s food kits to share her tips and best recipes for a fresh umami hit this summer…
Summer inspired umami hits:
- Anchovies – dice into pasta, sprinkle on top of salads or on top of pizza for a salty umami kick
- Sun-dried tomatoes – the intense flavour concentration is an umami powerhouse. Chop up and add to salads or pasta
- Aged parmesan – adds a nutty, mature depth of umami
- Fish sauce – perfect to create an Asian-inspired cold noodle salad
- Asparagus – buy it in season for peak umami flavour then serve with chicken or salads
- Kimchi – for a fiery gut-balancing boost to your meal, pile up the kimchi on the side
- Seaweed – packed with nutrients and antioxidants, this will give depth to salads
- Aubergine – marinate in tosazu vinegar and grill to keep the seasonal vegetable crispy
The trick to umami-inspired meals that reflect the rhythm of the months is to make sure the ingredients tick the seasonal box. Part of the ‘fullness’ of umami comes from how in-season your fruits and vegetables are. Foods have their most umami flavour when they’re naturally at their ripest, ready to be marinated or fermented. Think big, red, juicy heritage tomatoes, fresh green peas and sweet aubergines coated in tahini or soy sauce *chefs kiss*!
Cold soups- 2022’s summertime staple
A warming bowl of miso noodle soup is a go-to delight for the winter months and guess what – there’s a sister version too! Cold umami soups are a refreshing, nutritious staple in summer. Check out this quick 10-minute recipe for a Watermelon Gazpacho- an invigorating concoction with a fruity twist (recipe at the bottom).
It’s all in the dressing
Another way to experiment with hot and cold meals to add an umami kick is through flavourful dressings. Combining unusual ingredients like tahini with pomegranate juice makes for a very umami rich dressing, perfect for summertime. Simply add this to a go-to summer salad for a tasty health kick.
Pair different umami ingredients together
Adding too much salt or chocolate can overpower that desirable ‘swalty’ (sweet and salty) flavour. This isn’t the case for umami, it’s actually the more the merrier! Pairing two umami flavours elevates a dish beyond just the sum of the ingredients. Give it a go by coupling anchovies and tomatoes together.
Seeking some recipe inspiration? Gousto can help put these tips into practice …
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- 400g plum tomatoes
- 1 small watermelon
- 1/2 cucumber, sliced
- 1 red pepper
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 jalapeño
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 – 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 lemon (juice only)
- 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
Method (10 mins)
Step 1: Place your watermelon on a chopping board. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice the top off and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Put the watermelon in the fridge while you make your gazpacho.
Note: You’ll need 400g of watermelon flesh plus extra for garnish.
Step 2: Add your tomatoes, chopped watermelon flesh, sliced cucumber, pepper, ½ the jalapeño and garlic to a blender. Then blitz until smooth.
Step 3: Season your soup with cumin, salt, pepper and sherry vinegar. Then top it all off with a glug of olive oil and lemon juice.
Step 4: Put the gazpacho in a jug and leave it in the fridge for an hour, so it’s ice cold before serving. Once you’re ready to serve, pour the soup into your carved out watermelon and garnish with the remaining jalapeño, finely chopped, a few small cubes of watermelon and a drizzle of olive oil.
Tip: Make sure your watermelon stands up straight before adding your gazpacho. if it’s a bit wobbly, you can cut the base to make it flat but be careful not to slice all the way through (no-one wants gazpacho raining on the kitchen floor).
Graffiti Aubergine & ‘Nduja Salad with Tomatoey Croutons & Basil Oil
Ingredients (for 2 people)
- 1 garlic clove
- 50g rocket
- 32g tomato paste
- 5.5g vegetable stock
- 40g ‘Nduja paste
- 1 red pepper
- 10g basil
- 15ml red wine vinegar
- 35g Italian hard cheese
- 1 ciabatta
- 1 graffiti aubergine
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 220°C/ 200°C (fan)/ gas 7. Boil a kettle.
Trim the green stalks off the graffiti aubergine and cut lengthways into 6 wedges
Add the aubergine wedges to one side of a baking paper-lined baking tray (or two) with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and put the tray.
Step 2: While the aubergine is in the oven, deseed the red pepper (scrape the seeds and pith out with a teaspoon) and cut into thin strips. Peel and grate the garlic.
Step 3: Tear the ciabatta into bite-size pieces. Add the tomato paste to a medium bowl with the grated garlic, the vegetable stock mix and 100ml boiled water and stir to combine – this is your crouton marinade.
Step 4: Press the torn ciabatta into the marinade until all the sauce soaks into the bread – these are your tomatoey croutons. Add the tomatoey croutons to a separate baking tray lined with baking paper with a drizzle of olive oil.
Step 5: After the initial 15 min, remove the tray from the oven and add the sliced pepper to the other side with a small drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt.
Push the aubergine closer together and tear the ’Nduja over the top, then return the tray to the oven along with the tomatoey croutons for 15 min or until the pepper is charred and the croutons are crispy and charred around the edges.
Step 6: Meanwhile, chop the basil finely, including the stalks. Grind the chopped basil with a pinch of salt in a pestle & mortar to form a paste. Add the red wine vinegar with a pinch of sugar and 2 tbsp olive oil and mix well – this is your basil oil.
Tip: If you don’t have a pestle & mortar, chop the basil leaves very finely and mix with salt, olive oil and vinegar
Step 7: Peel the Italian hard cheese until you end up with a pile of cheese shavings. Grate any remaining Italian hard cheese and add it to the basil oil. Wash the rocket. Remove the tray with the aubergine from the oven and break up the ‘Nduja with a spatula then mix the aubergine wedges through it so they are coated in the spicy oil – this is your ‘Nduja graffiti aubergine.
Step 8: Serve the ’Nduja graffiti aubergine and roasted pepper over the rocket. Top with the tomatoey croutons and cheese shavings. Spoon over the crispy ‘Nduja and drizzle over the basil oil.
Tamari Heritage Beef Tomato With Crispy Fish & Sesame Potatoes
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 spring onion
- 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 4 tbsp cornflour
- 80g spinach
- 2 x 100g white fish fillets
- 15ml tamari soy sauce
- 15ml rice vinegar
- 1x beef tomato
- 1 white potato
- 10ml toasted sesame oil
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 240ºC/ 220ºC (fan)/ gas 9. Chop the potatoes (skins on) into small bite-sized pieces. Add the chopped potatoes to a baking tray with a drizzle of vegetable oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Give everything a good mix up and put the tray in the oven for an initial 22 min or until golden and crisp.
Step 2: While the potatoes are in the oven, cut the heritage beef tomato into thick slices, roughly 1 cm thick. Slice the spring onion very finely. Peel and grate the garlic.
Step 3: Add the sliced spring onion (save some for garnish) and grated garlic to a medium bowl with the rice vinegar, chilli flakes (can’t handle the heat? Go easy!) and 2/3 Tamari soy sauce (you’ll use the rest later!) Add 3 tbsp olive oil with 1 tsp sugar and give everything a good mix up – this is your tamari marinade.
Step 4: Heat a large, dry, wide-based pan (preferably non-stick) over a high heat. Once hot, add the sliced beef tomato and cook for 1 min or each side, reserve the pan. Add the warmed beef tomato slices to the Tamari marinade and gently toss, then set aside – this is your Tamari heritage beef tomato.
Step 5: While the tomato is marinating, add the fish fillets to a plate and drizzle the remaining Tamari soy sauce all over them. Turn the fish several times until the soy sauce fully soaks into the fish. Sprinkle the cornflour all over and rub it into both sides of the fish until fully coated, then set aside for later.
Tip: Coat the fish in the cornflour one side at a time to avoid stickiness!
Step 6: When the potatoes are almost done, return the reserved pan to a medium-high heat with a very generous drizzle of vegetable oil (enough to cover the base of the pan) over a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the coated fish and cook for 8-9 min, turning once halfway until golden, crisp and cooked through – this is your crispy soy fish
Tip: Your fish is cooked when it turns opaque and flakes easily
Step 7: After the initial 22 min, wash the spinach and remove the potatoes from the oven. Top the potatoes with the spinach and return the tray to the oven for a final 3 min or until the spinach is wilted. Pour the sesame oil all over the crispy potatoes and wilted spinach and mix everything together – these are your sesame potatoes.
Step 8: Serve the sesame potatoes with the Tamari heritage beef tomato to the side. Drizzle the marinade all over the beef tomato and top with the crispy fish. Garnish with the remaining sliced spring onion.
Middle Eastern Cobb Salad With Tahini & Pomegranate Ranch
Ingredients for 2 people
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 British free-range eggs
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tsp ground sumac
- 1 tsp baharat
- 2 gem lettuce
- 15ml white wine vinegar
- 25g honey
- 15g tahini
- 30g feta
- 50ml mayonnaise
- 3 white potatoes
- 1 pomegranate
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 220°C/ 200°C (fan)/ gas 7 and boil a kettle. Chop the potatoes (skins on) into small cubes. Add the chopped potatoes to a baking paper-lined baking tray with a drizzle of vegetable oil, the baharat and a pinch of salt and pepper. Give everything a good mix up and put the tray in the oven for an initial 20-25 min or until golden and crisp.
Step 2: Add the eggs to a pot of boiled water with a pinch of salt and half the white wine vinegar (you’ll use the rest later!)
Tip: This will prevent the eggs from cracking!
Bring to the boil over a high heat and once boiling, cook for exactly 8 min for perfect, mid-boiled eggs. Fill a bowl of very cold water and add the cooked eggs to the bowl and set aside for later.
Step 3: Meanwhile, cut the top and bottom off the pomegranate then slice into quarters. Place the pomegranate quarters into a large bowl filled with cold water.
Tip: This helps prevent mess and makes separating the pith easier!
Separate the pomegranate seeds from the white pith and discard the pith.
Step 4: Drain the pomegranate seeds in a fine sieve and set half of them aside for later. Place the sieve with the remaining pomegranate seeds over a bowl. Crush the seeds with a fork to release the pomegranate juice.
Tip: Lay a piece of cling film over the sieve to prevent mess!
Step 5: Peel and grate the garlic. Chop the tomatoes finely. Wash the gem lettuce, then shred it finely. Peel the cooled eggs and cut them into quarters.
Step 6: Combine the pomegranate juice and tahini in a bowl with the mayo and grated garlic (Not a big garlic fan? Try using less!). Add half the honey and the remaining white wine vinegar and give it a good mix up – this is your tahini & pomegranate ranch dressing.
Step 7: Once the potatoes are golden and crisp, remove the tray from the oven, crumble the feta over and top with the remaining honey. Return the tray to the oven for a final 5 min or until the feta is slightly melted and golden – these are your feta & honey roast potatoes.
Step 8: To serve, layer the chopped tomato, shredded lettuce, egg quarters and the feta & honey roast potatoes in rows. Sprinkle the sumac and the remaining pomegranate seeds over everything – this is your Middle Eastern cobb salad. Serve the tahini & pomegranate ranch dressing to the side.
Let everyone dig in!