Scallops make for indulgent entertaining. The very best way to buy scallops is live in their shells, this way you can guarantee their freshness and taste. Scallops are easy to open: Wash them to remove any sand, place the scallop flat side down on a board and simply run a thin sharp knife between the shells running it along the bottom shell, keeping it as close to the shell as possible. This will kill the scallop and the shell will open. Carefully remove the scallop from the top shell with the knife. Trim the scallop leaving simply the tender white meat and the coral (optional). Of course you can ask your fishmonger to do this but it means that the scallop is killed and will need to be cooked soon as the flavour will quickly deteriorate, I like to open them just before cooking. Delicious simply grilled. See our recipe Scallops with Herb and Garlic Butter.
John Dorycan be found in many fish mongers in June. It is my favourite fish, its flesh is firm but tender and light on the palate. It is best cooked simply in olive oil, pan fried or grilled. Why not see this months recipe for John Dory Fillets on Polenta Croutons.
Also Good:Tuna, mud crabs (see this months recipe for crab ravioli), wild baramundi, garfish, king fish, Pink Snapper and whiting.
Broccoli is at its peak this month. Choose those with firm heads without limp leaves and opened flowers. Deep fry in a light batter, steam, puree or serve raw as a crudite. Make a rustic Broccoli quiche accompanied with fresh herbs and a little cheese of your choice.
Cabbagesof all shapes and size are in abundance. They can be boiled, steamed, stuffed, braised and deep fried or simply served raw shredded in a salad. Choose cabbages that are heavy with strong coloured leaves without yellow discolouration or bruises. In general it is best to cook cabbage briefly, remove the outer leaves, quarter, decore and finely shred leaves, cook in boiling water for a couple of minutes or prepare and cook as required. For Chinese Crispy Seaweed simply shred the outer leaves of savoy cabbage, deep-fry , toss with a little caster sugar, Chinese five spice and a little salt. Red cabbage is excellent when shredded and slowly cooked in the oven with brown sugar, red wine, sliced onion and a grated eating apple for 2 hours or for a Swedish version make Braised Red Cabbage with Caraaway Seeds.
Root Vegetables are widely available throughout the winter months, these include: parsnips, jerusalem artichokes, swedes, celeriac, carrots. Jerusalem artichokes are a real treat but awkward to peel, so choose large ones. Yummy roasted in their skin, sliced and sauteed, they are also excellent in a soup or gratin or prepare a Salad of Roasted Beetroot and Jerusalem Artichokes. Swede is similar to turnips but larger with yellow, sweeter and milder flesh. Choose medium, firm, unbruised swedes (larger ones will have coarser flesh). Trim ends, peel, wash and cut as required, boil, roast or even deep fry. Celeriac is the edible root of celery. It has knobbly rough skin and ranges from the size of an orange to a swede. It is best to choose smaller celeriac for easier preparation. Use and cook as for carrots but you will need to put cut flesh in water with lemon juice to stop it from browning. Yummy roasted, deep fried, boiled and mashed, or raw in salads. For a delicious seasonal soup try our recipe for Celeriac, Apple and Stilton Soup .
Onions, shallots, garlic and leeks. Onion varieties vary hugely from yellow all purpose cooking ones, to Spanish red onions excellent in salads, salsas and dishes needing a milder flavour, white onions are best in salads or try in a simple sandwich, small pickling onions are good in stews and other slow cooked dishes, while shallots are for more refined dishes with a delicate but developed flavour. Choose firm, dry, and unblemished onions and store in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight.
Also good are avocados, chokos, silverbeet, asian greens, English spinach and water chestnuts.
End of the season for tomatoes, butterbeans, mushrooms and pumpkin.
New season apples andpears are plentiful in June. Pears come in all shapes and sizes, varying in taste and texture. Take advantage of the abundance, bake an apple pie, prepare pear sorbet, poach pears in a spicy syrup, bake a Pear and Almond Tart or Roast Pork with Apples or try fusion Granny Smith Apple Spring Rolls.
Citrusfruit is plentiful, these include navel oranges, cumquat's, lemons and mandarins. It maybe the wrong time of year for it but freshly squeezed mixed citrus fruit mixed with rum and sugar syrup or caster sugar makes a wicked "rum punch". Marmalade made from oranges or another citrus fruit is one of those traditional preserves that's lurking in one or many of our cookbooks. This month we also feature some citrus fruit recipes which include Citrus Tart ,Citrus Souffle and Orange and Coconut cake .
Rhubarb is good this month. I love rhubarb in many dishes but I enjoy it most of all in a pie or crumble. Make a simple Apple and Rhubarb Crumble.
Also good are tamarillos, Cape gooseberries, kiwi fruit, rough leaf pineapple, custard apples, passion fruit and pomegranate (try are winter warming "Pomegranate Roast Pork").
Going Going Gone: Grapes, guava, quince (make a yummy Upside Down Quince Cake), persimmons, plums, blueberries and rambutans.
June is a good month for many varieties of nuts includingwalnuts, chestnuts and pecans. Nuts make great additions to savoury and sweet dishes. The simple addition of a few ground chopped nuts to a pastry base or crumble make a subtle difference. These nuts also make a good crust to fish, vegetables and meat when added to a simple breadcrumb mixture. Nuts also make delicious praline when added to toffee. Try making a simple praline and adding it to a vanilla ice-cream for praline ice-cream.