In his latest cooking series on BBC Player, the British celebrity chef shares easy dishes that celebrate the spirit of togetherness
The Covid-19 pandemic has been hard for everyone, even for British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver who missed and longed to be with his “family, friends and community” during this difficult period. As the whole world slowly returns to a ‘new’ normal, Oliver was inspired to write his latest cookbook, Together, which is also the title of his new cooking series on BBC Player.
Oliver shares: “My new show is a real celebration of great food that you can share with your loved ones. But it’s about more than food—it’s about spending time together and ultimately, about making memories.” The six-part series is a showcase of dishes that you can prepare for different occasions like summer feasts, picnics in the park or even curry nights. Here are five highlights.
1. Stuffed Salmon
“What I like about this recipe is that the method, which is incredibly easy to follow, elevates the salmon to a new level. It makes a real event of this incredible fish and, while it cooks, the flavours all mix and mingle together, amplifying utter deliciousness.”
- 1 heaped tablespoon baby capers in brine
- 10 anchovy fillets in oil, from sustainable sources
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 10 mixed-colour olives
- 1 fresh red chilli
- 1 lemon
- 1.2kg side of salmon, skin on, pin-boned, from sustainable sources
GET AHEAD You can prep this on the day, if you prefer. Put the capers into a small bowl, then tear in the anchovies and strip in the rosemary leaves. Squash and destone the olives, tearing the flesh into the bowl, then finely slice and add the chilli. Finely grate over the lemon zest, squeeze in the juice, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
ON THE DAY Place the salmon skin side down in the middle of your largest roasting tray and use the tip of a small sharp knife to make deep cuts into the flesh at 3cm intervals. Now stuff each cut, using the knife to help you. I start by dividing up the olives and anchovies, then add the rosemary, chilli and capers. Take your time and enjoy the process. Sprinkle any excess around the salmon.
TO SERVE Preheat the oven to 180 C. Roast the salmon at the bottom of the oven for 20 minutes. Let it rest for 10 minutes, then serve.
VEGGIE LOVE A giant stuffed portobello mushroom for each veggie guest instead of salmon is a thing of joy—just lose the anchovies.
In case you missed it: Omnifoods Launches New Range of Alternative Plant-Based Seafood
2. Tender Asparagus
“With glorious green dressing, soft boiled eggs & crispy bacon croutons.”
- 2 spring onions
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley (30g)
- 4 rashers of higher-welfare smoked streaky bacon
- 200g sourdough bread
- 1kg asparagus
- 8 large free-range eggs
GET AHEAD Roughly chop the green part of the spring onions and place in a blender with the mustard, vinegar and 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Tear in three-quarters of the parsley leaves, add a swig of water and blitz until smooth. Season to perfection, tasting and tweaking, then cover. Pick the remaining parsley leaves into a bowl, then trim, finely slice and add the whites of the spring onions, and cover with water. Refrigerate both overnight.
ON THE DAY Put a large non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. Finely slice the bacon, chop the bread into 1cm chunks, and place it all in the pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a good pinch of black pepper. Cook for 15 minutes, or until golden and crisp, tossing regularly. Keep in the pan, ready to reheat. Divide the dressing between a large serving bowl and a smaller bowl, ready for drizzling. Snap the woody ends off the asparagus, then cook in a large pan of boiling water for 3 minutes, or until just tender. Use tongs to transfer the asparagus straight into the larger bowl of dressing, tossing to coat. Gently lower the eggs into the boiling water with a pinch of sea salt to cook for 6 minutes, then drain, cool under cold running water, and peel.
TO SERVE Heat up the croutons. Halve the eggs and dot among the asparagus. Drain the parsley and spring onion garnish, pat dry, then scatter over the top, and take everything to the table—the asparagus will be delicious hot, warm or cold. I enjoy this starter with a glass of quality cold sparkling cider.
VEGGIE LOVE When frying the croutons, swap the bacon for a pinch of smoked paprika.
3. Roasted Rump Steak
Serves 6 with leftovers
“This meal is such a fantastic reimagining of steak and chips. It allows us to truly enjoy and celebrate the rump cut as a bigger joint, and as the oven does the hard work for you, all the last-minute smoke and stress is removed from the process. This piece of steak is slightly bigger than you need, but it cooks well at this size and is worth it for the leftovers. 1.5kg piece of higher-welfare thick rump steak 1 bunch of rosemary (20g) 2 knobs of unsalted butter 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar.”
- 1.5kg piece of higher-welfare thick rump steak
- 1 bunch of rosemary (20g)
- 2 knobs of unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
ON THE DAY Get the meat out of the fridge an hour before you want to start cooking it, then you can do this first stage an hour or two before you roast it. Rub the steak all over with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then sear on every side in a screaming-hot griddle pan, or on a hot barbecue, until pleasingly bar-marked. Strip half the rosemary into a roasting tray, sit the seared steak on top, strip over the rest of the rosemary, dot and rub over the butter, drizzle with another tablespoon of oil, then season generously with sea salt and black pepper.
TO SERVE Preheat the oven to 200 C. Roast the steak on the bottom of the oven for 20 minutes for medium-rare, or 25 minutes for medium, turning halfway and basting with the juices from the tray. Remove from the oven, spoon over the balsamic, then cover with tin foil and leave to rest for 15 minutes, basting occasionally – I like to slip a tea with tin foil and leave to rest for 15 minutes, basting occasionally—I like to slip a tea towel under one end of the tray, so the juices naturally gather at the other end and you can easily spoon off any excess fat into a clean jam jar (for the best roasties another day). Thinly slice and serve, drizzling each portion with resting juices. The leftovers will make an epic sarnie.
VEGGIE LOVE Create a squash steak for each veggie guest—scrub 1 butternut squash (1.2kg), carefully halve lengthways and deseed, then cut a long 2cm-thick slice. Beautifully griddle twice on each side in a screaming-hot griddle pan to create criss-cross bar marks, then dress and season in exactly the same way as the steak and roast for 30 minutes, or until soft and sumptuous, basting as you go.
4. Bloody Mary Crumpets
“Smoked salmon, prawns & brown shrimp.”
- 120g smoked salmon, from sustainable sources
- A bunch of dill (10g)
- 300g cottage cheese
- 2 lemons
- 2 large free-range eggs
- 2 tablespoons creamed horseradish
- 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 6 crumpets
- 1 knob of unsalted butter
- 150g raw shell-off prawns, from sustainable sources
- Smoked paprika
- 150g cooked brown shrimp, from sustainable sources
GET AHEAD Lay out the salmon and cut out six pretty slices that you can wrap around 6 small sprigs of dill, discarding the tougher stalks. Roll them up for a 1980’s-style garnish, place on a plate, cover and return to the fridge.
Very finely chop the rest of the salmon and place in a bowl with the cottage cheese. Pick, finely chop and add most of the remaining dill, then squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon and season to perfection, tasting and tweaking. Crack the eggs into a shallow bowl and whisk with the horseradish, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and a pinch of black pepper. Cover both and refrigerate overnight.
TO SERVE Place a large non-stick frying pan on a medium-high heat. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Dunk the crumpets into the bowl of egg mixture, pressing lightly and turning to encourage them to soak up the mixture. Cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden (in batches, if needed). Alongside, place a medium non-stick pan on high heat with the butter, prawns and a pinch of paprika. After a couple of minutes, add the shrimp to the prawns and toss for a minute, then squeeze in the juice of a lemon and turn the heat off.
Divide the crumpets between your plates, topping with the creamy salmon mixture. Spoon over the prawns and shrimp, add the smoked salmon rolls and remaining dill, then flick over an extra pinch of paprika, if you like. Serve with lemon wedges, for squeezing over. Delicious with champagne or whisky.
5. Tangerine Dream Cake
“A pleasure to make, this cake is joyous served with a cup of tea—make sure you pack your flask. Any leftovers crumbled over ice cream will also be a treat. I like to make the whole thing on the day, but you can absolutely make the sponge ahead and simply store it in an airtight container overnight.”
- 250g soft unsalted butter
- 250g runny honey
- 250g self-raising flour
- 200g ground almonds
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
- 6 large free-range eggs
- 4 tangerines
- 100g icing sugar
- Optional: natural yoghurt, to serve
ON THE DAY Preheat the oven to 180 C and generously grease a 2-litre non-stick bundt tin with butter. Place the remaining butter in a food processor with honey, flour, almonds, vanilla paste and a pinch of sea salt. Crack in the eggs, finely grate in the tangerine zest (reserving some for garnish) and blitz until smooth. Pour the mixture into the bundt tin, scraping it out of the processor with a spatula, then jiggle the tin to level it out. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Leave for a few minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, then squeeze and stir in enough tangerine juice to make a thick drizzle. Pour or spoon over the cool cake, easing some drips down the sides in an arty way, then sprinkle over the reserved zest. Peel the remaining tangerines and slice into rounds, to serve on the side. A spoonful of yoghurt also pairs with it very nicely, if you like.
CLASSIC CAKE Don’t worry if you don’t have a bundt tin, a 25cm cake tin lined with greaseproof paper will work just as well.
Together by Jamie Oliver is published by Penguin Random House © Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited (2021 Together). Photography: Paul Stuart.