I have always associated seafood with Summer, and I believe the same applies to most people. The idea of some clams stewing away in a broth of white wine, cilantro, garlic and finely chopped onions, the thought of slow braised octopus, the image of barbecued squid that has marinated in plenty of lemon juice, or the aroma of shrimps bubbling away on a hot plate, this is the apotheosis of a Summer fest for me. And so easy to have at home, being the perfect excuse to bring together at the table family and friends, with the help of ice cold beers, a fresh salad, some savoury flat breads, and yes, chips, why not? After all, you only live once, and a fest is a fest is a fest!!
I guess you all know by now how much I love having yogurt dips at my Summer table, and they're so full of possibilities, so versatile, it is a treat you can spruce up in literally minutes!! All you really need is to decide what herbs and flavours you want in them. My favourite are the spicy yogurt dip, to which I add piripiri sauce liberally - or not so liberally, if hot and spicy is really not your thing! - and the mustard one, to which you add, well, yeah, you guessed it: mustard. So how do you go about it? First you'll need two natural yogurts, greek yogurt works wonders, but any other kind will do, I prefer those tangy, full of acidity yogurts as I find that it works well with the savoury flavours. Then you need two garlic cloves, finely grated, a medium sized knob of ginger, peeled and also finely grated, a pinch of salt - be generous, but don't over do it - some chives, or cilantro or parsley, all finely chopped, the juice and grated peel of half a lemon, and a drizzle of good olive oil. In a bowl you mix it all together until the dip looks smooth and creamy, and then divide into two - or more, depending on how many different kinds of dip you're doing! - smaller bowls. To one you add a dash of mustard and mix gently, to the other you add as much or as little of the piripiri sauce as you'd like, lightly mixing it 'till you get a marbled effect. That way you will have the hot of the sauce and also the coolness of the yogurt. And let's face it, it looks pretty. You can also keep things simple and serve up a yogurt, garlic and salt dip, or add some chives, ginger, lemon and olive oil to this simple mix, it is so refreshing and yet so delicious. Really, just go for the flavours you like, as I said it's a very versatile base that can be dressed up or down according to your preferences.
The flatbreads you see here, I'm not gonna post a recipe for them untill I can come up with something I feel really comfortable with, something that is yummy, fulfilling and delicious enough. These, sadly, were not. I got the recipe from a portuguese tv show and I'm sad to say, they failed big time. I mean, they look so beautiful on the outside, but the insides were really too doughy and heavy, not a good recipe, so we're working on it, tweaking it, making it our own perfect combo. As soon as we do, I'll be sure to post it here. As for the shrimps, well, nothing simpler, you drizzle the pan with good olive oil, season the shrimps with a little chilli, a little garlic, some salt and lemon juice, let it cook 'till it's pink and pretty, and then munch away!! Never fails, trust me. Simple and beautiful, it is like gobbling away on Summer's best, on those nights that seem never ending, flowing with good company and good conversation, an authentic Summer fest!