Looking for catering inspiration for the season ahead? Check out this colourful line-up from Duck & Waffle chef director Dan Doherty
Interview: Annica Wainwright Photos: Jason Bailey Flowers: That Flower Shop
To me, summer entertaining is all about being outside, cooking on fire and feasting over shared dishes on large, communal tables. I look forward to new-season vegetables and big piles of herbs – so much colour! – and I love making marinades.
Working with fresh herbs and spices is such an easy win. You can take straightforward ingredients like pork, lamb and vegetables, and not just transform their flavour, but also make them look great. When you see vibrant greens on a plate, you think, ‘This must be fresh.’
All three of my dishes are finished with coriander and mint, and I’ve also taken some inspiration from North Africa. I think the colours really represent summer and the flavours should be easy to recreate for events.
Roast heritage carrots, spiced chickpeas, labneh, cumin and pomegranate
Obviously, people associate my restaurants with duck, but we’re also all about showcasing great veg. I’m not one to talk about health fads but veg-led dishes are the future of sustainable eating. As long as you cook them interestingly, they can be just as fun and tasty as meat. Spice is a great way to drive home the natural flavours of food. Summer carrots are sweet, so the North African-influenced spicing in this dish is a great complement.
Baked and pickled beetroot, harissa, organic yogurt and toasted sunflower seeds
You can pretty much get beetroot throughout the year in the UK, but this sweet, tender vegetable is at its absolute peak in July – and it’s a great match for smoky barbecue flavours. In this dish, the earthiness of the beets is complemented by warming harissa paste and offset with a dollop of fresh yogurt. The pickled beetroot adds another interesting element, as does the sweet aniseed taste of the atsina cress sprinkled on top.
WHAT THE DUCK?
Za’atar-spiced duck kofte flatbread, pickled red cabbage, whipped chickpeas and harissa
I like to challenge myself to come up with dishes where duck is a surprising ingredient so, with a summer feast in mind, I thought, ‘Why not try duck kofte?’ I can see these kebabs and flatbreads being heated on a barbecue, and the pickled red cabbage adds a real burst of colour. I’ve used a Levantine spice mix called za’atar to crank up the summer flavour, and I’d always serve this dish with a generous scattering of fresh herbs.
This article was first published in Squaremeal Venues + Events, Spring/Summer 2017