HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Forever Summer: Second Course

July 2007 Cookbook of the Month: Forever Summer, by Nigella Lawson.

Please post your full-length reviews of recipes from the section on Second Course items here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Thanks for participating!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Made the Lemon Slaso from the Grilled Sardines with Lemon Salsa recipe (didn't have the sardines -- used it on salmon). Very tasty. Would also be good with chicken. Will definitely make it when Meyer lemons are in season. I subbed one shallot for the red onion. I think a whole onion would be overkill.

    1. Two second courses that I have made numerous times in the past:

      Slow-Roasted Garlic and Lemon Chicken (p.138): This is a great and super easy main course for a group dinner, or for a dinner for two with tasty leftovers. It's good especially for a weekend night meal, because the prep only takes a few minutes, and it can just cook away making your kitchen smell good for 2 1/2 or so hours until it's done. The one thing that it's missing that I think that it needs is salt -- add about a teaspoon of kosher salt, and it's perfect.

      Pepper-Seared Tuna (p. 87): I always use wasabi in place of the English mustard that she calls for (which she suggests as an alternate). A really simple and tasty summer meal.

      10 Replies
      1. re: JasmineG

        I second the Slow-Roasted Garlic and Lemon chicken. It is a terrific easy standby for informal meals because timing is so flexible.

        1. re: Fuffy

          I made the Slow-Roasted Garlic and Lemon Chicken about a year ago and was verrry disappointed. The whole dish had a bitter taste which ruined it. I was really looking forward to it, too.

          Could it have been my use of Meyer lemons? We had loads of them and so used them in place of regular lemons.

          Anybody have any ideas about how the bitter taste came to be?

          1. re: oakjoan

            If your lemons had particularly bitter seeds, that could have done it -- the bitterness of the seeds could have made the whole dish bitter. Try it again, and seed the lemons first. I've used regular lemons for this and have been fine, maybe your Meyers were particularly seedy?

            1. re: oakjoan

              Sometimes, garlic can be overcooked and gets bitter.

              Also, if you are preferring and using Meyer lemons, you probably enjoy less bitter foods.

              Aging of either garlic or lemon could have created the bitterness, too.

          2. re: JasmineG

            I will be making this tonight and wondered if there is a good substitute for the wine? I can go to the store but it's over 100 degrees and I hesitate to put my DD in the car if I don't have to.

            1. re: nissenpa

              I made it with beer once, actually, with tasty results. If you don't have that, just a little chicken stock and some more lemon juice might work.

              1. re: JasmineG

                Thanks. I ended up borrowing some wine from a neighbor. I loved the way the chicken turned out. Our lemons were a bit bitter so next time I would take them out before serving. I would also peal the garlic ahead of time. The flavor of chicken and garlic was awesome BUT the peals were a bit tough. I ate too much of the wonderful chicken skin and now even after a walk I still feel too full. Will definitely try again.

            2. re: JasmineG

              I made this last week and plan on making it again for company this weekend. Do you think I could use all thighs? Everyone prefers dark meat. How do you think I should adjust the temperature?

              1. re: nissenpa

                I always only use all dark meat for this, actually (I prefer dark meat too), and I've always made it with no changes to the recipe, and it's been perfect.

                1. re: JasmineG

                  AWESOME!! Thank you so much. I really appreciate it!

            3. Lomo de Orza, p. 108

              I made this last week for dinner on a hot summer night. Nigella mentions it's based on a recipe by Penelope Casas in "Tapas: The Little Dishes of Spain". Very simple - cook slices of pork loin (I used tenderloin), and then marinate in a mixture of olive oil, garlic, dried thyme, fresh lemon juice and rosemary, overnight. I served it with a salad and romesco potatoes. Cut into cubes, this would be a nice do-ahead tapas for a dinner party.


              1 Reply
              1. re: Rubee

                I made this last week, also for a hot summer night. It served it's purpose for me - having a cold meal in an unconditioned apartment. I also had just gone for a run, so the protein/salt/fat tasted great. But, I liked it, but didn't love it. Not sure if I would make it again. It does have simplicity going for it though.


              2. Zucchini Fritters - page 156
                Tasty cakes, made better when served with a squeeze of fresh lime and a sprinkle of chopped mint. Lovely hot or cold - I liked them best at room temperature.

                1. I got the book from the library last week and immediately couldn't resist the recipe for Seared Mustard-Coated Salmon. (P. 97) I used Copper River. As Nigella says, the sugar in the mustard coating gives the fish a caramelly crust while at the same time, there's a little puckery bite from the mustard. Wonderfully easy to make and truly delicious! I served it with a saute of fresh corn kernels mixed with chopped scallions, haricots verts, red peppers, and tomatoes.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: RGR

                    I made the Mustard-Coated Salmon tonight hoping for the same reaction you had. Alas, not to be. I liked the mustard, but I didn't care for even just the hint of sweetness with the salmon. I was trying to recall if I've ever combined sweet with fish and couldn't think of anything offhand, except perhaps a sweet-and-sour Szechuan preparation. Shrimp, yes; but not fish. I guess I just don't care for the the combination. Served it with the Raw Beet, Dill and Mustard-Seed Salad as she suggests, and wasn't particularly fond of that either. Will post in first-course thread.

                    1. re: JoanN

                      As for the salmon/sweet combo, I make a glaze of soy, maple syrup, lemon juice, and ginger. Reduce all of that and smear on the fish. Place on a cedar plank and either grill or bake. Really good, just a hint of sweetness.

                    2. re: RGR

                      I made this last night and DH and I both really liked it. It was perfect on a 90 degree day. I think the cold leftovers will be great for lunch today. It's simple and quick. I used Coleman's mustard powder (bought it at the Mediteranean store).

                    3. Last night I made the Coconut and Chilli Salmon Kebabs (p. 80). When I made up the marinade and tasted it, I thought it was incredible and fresh tasting. But once it cooked on the salmon, it lost some of that freshness, so while we enjoyed this, we didn't love it. I think reserving some of the marinade (not putting it on the fish) and then serving it with it would help a lot.

                      Braised little gems (p.155). I should have trusted my instincts. These were dull.

                      1. Za'atar Chicken w/ Fattoush, p. 134

                        I made this a couple of weeks ago and really liked it overall. I have alot of zaatar left over from the Arabesque month and this is a great way to use a few TB in one shot. The recipe calls for 2 TB for one chicken cut into 8 pieces, but I might use a little more next time. Also calls for 1/2 c. of olive oil in the marinade, but that seemed like alot so I reduced to about 1/3 c. and still think it could be reduced to 1/4 c. next time. I marinated the chicken for about 6 hrs. but think it would be better overnight. Nigella sprinkles salt on after baking, but I included some in marinade and finished w/ a little Maldon at the table.

                        The recipe was so easy and unfussy but bursting w/ flavor, something I really appreciate about Nigella's style. One of those recipes that's completely adjustable depending on if you're feeding 2 or 200. I used cherry tomatoes for the salad and adjusted the herb amounts to my taste (a bunch of parsley and mint may be smaller in England). While the chicken was tasty, husband and I agreed that the salad was the star. Zesty and bright w/ some good texture and substance added by the toasted pita pieces. I'm all about bread in salad! :-)

                        I will definitely make this again during these lazy days of summer. I'm thinking of just making the fattoush salad for a July 4th potluck that we're going to...

                        Photo of chicken:

                        Photo of plate w/ fattoush:

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: Carb Lover

                          Thanks for the great tips - I plan on making this on Friday, and I plan to incorporate your changes.

                          1. re: Carb Lover

                            Za'atar Chicken w/ Fattoush

                            We loved this (I'm jealous of Carb Lover's excess Zaatar - I used up almost all of what I had to make this, and since we liked it so much I want to make it again soon). I did incorporate most of the changes mentioned above - much less oil, and added the extra tablespoon of zaatar. I didn't marinate it as long, only because I only got my chicken yesterday afternoon. But 4 hours with the 3 tablespoons seems to have done the trick. I also added salt when I put the zaatar on the chicken. The fattoush is incredibly good, and very fresh tasting. LulusDad has been to Turkey numerous times, and he was going crazy for it, and said it tasted just like the stuff he'd eaten and loved there (and in fact he finished the entire bowl ... eek).

                            1. re: Carb Lover

                              Agree with CL's comments on the fattoush - made it the other night. I didn't put the timer on, so as per usual, I ended up with 'extra crispy' pita breads. This tasty salad didn't suffer though.


                              1. re: Rubee

                                Nice to see others making and enjoying this dish. I made the fattoush for a July 4th potluck and it was well-received. The only issue is that the pita bread sogs up after a little while so it's not ideal if people are eating at random times.

                                1. re: Carb Lover


                                  I have actually developed a taste for the soggy lavash/pita bread. Maybe it's because I also love the cubed bread in salad after it has gotten squishy.

                              2. re: Carb Lover

                                I made this chicken today, and liked it, but I absolutely LOVED the salad. I'm definitely going to make the salad over and over again this summer. I only had time to marinate the chicken for a few hours, and I think that you're right, and that it needs overnight, and next time I'd add a tablespoon or so more zaatar, and less olive oil, because I probably only used 1/4 of a cup, and it was still a little too much (and I'm not one to skimp on oil in recipes!).

                                I also used four cut up chicken legs instead of a whole cut up chicken (as I usually do), and all was perfect.

                                1. re: Carb Lover

                                  We had the Za'atar Chicken w/Fattoush for dinner last night and absolutely loved the Fattoush. The chicken was very good and moist — but, the Fattoush was the evening's winner.

                                2. Lemon Rice

                                  Was looking for a diffeerent side to go with some baked fish, so made this. It was very pretty, but bland. Maybe it would have been okay with the curry to perk it up. I can't imagine that much water to cook that much rice, though; should think you'd end up with a mushy mess. And just 15 minutes cooking time?

                                  I'm not having very good luck with this book so far, but will try something if I read any stellar reviews here.

                                  1. Corsican Omelette, p. 163

                                    I have never had the combination of a goat cheese/fresh mint omelette before, and this was really delicious. I think also it was the wonderful Spanish goat cheese I used - a soft, creamy cheese flavored with garlic and herbs that I had purchased for a tapas party.


                                    Couldn't be simpler - heat some shredded mint with butter, add 3 beaten eggs, and when almost set, crumble the goat cheese over the omelette. Fold into thirds, and garnish with more shredded mint. My husband isn't fond of mint, so I made one without and one with. I really loved using both the cooked and fresh mint, and will be making this often.

                                    Recipe Link:

                                    E's omelette:


                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Rubee

                                      That looks really great, Rubee!

                                      1. re: Rubee

                                        I made this for a solo supper last night, using plain old chevre and fresh mint from the garden, and it was delicious -- I loved the flavor combo. My only caveat is that I thought the amount of cheese called for in the recipe -- 4 oz., was a little much (never thought I'd say that about cheese!) in proportion to the eggs. Not that it tasted bad ... One thing I love about Nigella -- she's never stingy with the cheese.

                                        1. re: Rubee

                                          I made this tonight and I loved it. I did make some changes though. I used two eggs instead of three and I used less than half the amount of goat cheese (plain ol' chevre). I really liked the flavors of the cooked mint and fresh mint with the cheese and eggs. This was a perfect summer meal for me. I ate this with a lettuce and beet salad as well as a fennel/parsley/cheese/olive oil salad.


                                          Omelette in pan (with half the amount of recommended cheese):


                                          Plated (I did a horrible job of sliding the omelette out of the pan):


                                          Just for kicks - fennel salad:


                                        2. Bulgar Wheat Salad with Pink-Seared Lamb (P.111)

                                          Another very easy-to-prepare and tasty main course. For the salad, I didn't have any mint on hand, so I substituted some chopped parsley though I'm sure the mint would have added a more interesting flavor dimension. The chili made for a nice bit of zip. I grilled the lamb on our outdoor barbecue rather than on the griddle or in a frying pan as instructed. My husband commented on how much he really liked this dish.

                                          Nigella doesn't call for any spicing of the lamb, but I sprinkled it with just a bit of salt and a few grindings of black pepper. And even though she says the strongly-flavored bulgar makes marinating the lamb unnecessary, next time I may try doing that.

                                          1. Hasselback Potatoes(side dish)
                                            A bit of extra work, so I don't make for larger gatherings, but the Hasselback potatoes (unpeeled) are wonderfully crispy - especially if roasted at a few degrees higher than the recipe calls for.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: Fuffy

                                              I made the hasselback potatoes as well.

                                              I like how Nigella writes to place the potatoe in a large wooden spoon so as not to cut all the way through the potatoes.

                                              The end product was fine. I mean, salt, potatoes, oil, butter - how can you go wrong? I may have pulled out my potatoes too soon from the oven - should they be crispy, even the innards?

                                              1. re: marthadumptruck

                                                Yes and slightly fanned open. The wooden spoon is to keep you from cutting all the way throught the potato. It is one of the recipes I made late 60's early 70's from the old Time Life series.

                                                1. re: marthadumptruck

                                                  Oh, I was looking at the cookbook this morning and totally want to make the hasselback potatoes soon! They look so crispy and carb-licious. I have never heard of them before till this book.

                                                  Would it be so wrong to melt some cheese on top to finish? Those deep crevices are just begging to cradle something...

                                                  1. re: Carb Lover

                                                    Go for it! Maybe sprinkle some chives on the butter under the cheese? I'd wait to put the cheese on until they are almost done so it does not burn.

                                              2. This evening I made the pappardelle with zucchini with a few changes. First, I had zukes from teh garden, and nowhere near 1 1/2 pounds, but with only two eating, this wasn't a problem. So, the proportions were a bit off as far as zuke to pasta ratio, no matter. I also had some nice ricotta I needed to use up, so added this at the end, a bit of cool dairy made a nice contrast. Also, didn't cook the zukes down quite as much as she specified, because they were garden fresh, I wanted them to hold their shape a bit more than it seemed she asked. Absolutely delicious, and will be on the rotation this summer. Thanks, Nigella!

                                                1. Baked Potato Salad, p. 56

                                                  Nice! I halved and roasted Yukon Gold potatoes (unpeeled) in the oven with a bit of olive oil, let cool, and then crumbled them by hand into a bowl. Then simply drizzled extra virgin olive oil, the juice of half a lemon, and tossed with a sliced scallion, chopped cilantro, plenty of salt, and cumin and sumac to taste. I'll be making this again - it's a simple and easy way to use up leftover potatoes. I really liked the bright flavors with the combination of lemon and cilantro.


                                                  1. I made the lamb patties with pita and hummus. The flavor was very good. We found it difficult to eat. She calls for just a top edge to be cut from the pita and the the lettuce, tomotoes, hummus lamb etc. to be stuffed in like it was a giant hamburger with 4-5 lamb patties in each pocket. DH and I both had lamb falling out and hitting the floor. The dogs did not mind though. Next time I would halve the pitas and stuff. I think it would be less awkward to eat.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Candy

                                                      I make these every couple of months, but we don't eat them in a pita, just on a plate with some cucumber-yogurt sauce.

                                                    2. Last night I made the Golden Jubilee Chickn Salad. I've given it a look in the past and skipped over it. The longest part of making it was poaching the chicken. I used frozen organic mango, ripe serranos (it was what I had on hand) and my greens were mache. We warmed up some Brioche rolls and that was it. The salad was kind of a party in your mouth, sweet mango, zingy peppers, calming cilantro, lime juice and dark sesame oil. I think I might add some coconut the next time I make it. That might make a nice addition or maybe some cubed red bell pepper. This salad can go in a lot of directions. Good on itsown or as a jumping off point for an exotic fruit salad.


                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: Candy

                                                        I made this for dinner tonight, and really liked it too. As Candy mentions, all the components contribute - especially the sweetness of the fresh mango, the heat from the peppers, the toasted sesame oil, and plenty of lime juice.

                                                        I poached 1-1/2 chicken breasts (in a pot, cover with cold water, bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover, and let cool). I used two different kinds of mangos, 1-1/2 limes, cilantro, scallion, toasted sesame oil, shredded romaine, and a minced green Thai chili pepper along with aleppo pepper flakes.


                                                        1. re: Rubee

                                                          This looks delicious Rubee, I love spice so the use of the serrano and the red chili peppers is my kind of salad. I would love to make this. Would you be able to paraphrase the dressing? I can figure the rest out. Is there any sugar or honey in the dressing are are you relying on the mango's natural sweetness for that?

                                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                                            The only sweetness was from the mango. I used one regular (Atkins) and one champagne (Autulfo) mango. Here's the recipe. Hope you enjoy it!


                                                            In the book "groundnut oil" is peanut oil.

                                                            1. re: Rubee

                                                              Thanks for explaining the "groundnut oil" there had been some head scratching....

                                                              No sweetner, got it. Thanks for posting the link, we love salads and eat them almost every night as the entree, or along with. Your picture is beautifully done by the way!

                                                      2. Saffron-Scented Chicken Pilaf (p. 143)
                                                        This was pleasant and we enjoyed it, but I wasn't blown away. I left out the pine nuts since I realized at the last minute that I didn't have any, but I doubt that made much difference. Not much else to say about it, which I guess tells you something.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                          I don't know about the left out pine nuts not making a diff. I make a Middle Eastern chicken (A variation was in Arabesque) that's finished by sprinkling toasted pine nuts over the dish. It really gives a crunch and a rich flavor to the dish.

                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                            We sprinkled pistachios over it (and it also included cashews and almonds) so there was plenty of the nut element.

                                                        2. Made the zucchini pancakes (again -- this is one of my fave recipes, and I haven't felt up to experimenting lately). I absolutely love the flavor of these -- they're a bit time consuming to make, what with the grating then drying of the zucchini and the frying, but they are fabulous at room temperature and can be made ahead. One caveat -- if you are expecting super crisp zucchini fritters, these aren't them - they're pancakes. They hold together fairly well, but they're on the soft/soggy side (depending on how you look at them). I love them as a take along lunch dish though.

                                                          1. Marinade from Black and Blue Beef

                                                            I made the marinade for a flank steak and marinated it for about six hours. I didn't like it at all. At least, not when the steak was still hot. I have no idea why not other than that the flavor of the marinade simply overpowered the flavor of the beef. The marinade consists of some of my favorite ingredients: soy sauce, garlic, fresh ginger, sesame oil. What's not to like? I guess it's because I practically never marinate steak. I just buy prime beef and grill it with some S&P and that's it and that's the way I like my steak. But cold, the flank steak was a different story. The marinade flavor/ to beef/flavor ratio was much less overwhelming and the cold steak was very tasty. I doubt I'll bother to marinate again just for the leftovers, but it certainly was an interesting lesson learned.

                                                            1. Salmon Kebabs with Pomegranate Molasses and Honey, p. 79.

                                                              It's such a nice change of pace for the cookbook of the month to be full of so many simple, quick recipes. A 3-ingredient marinade couldn't be any easier. I mixed pom molasses, honey, and soy sauce, and poured it over salmon cubes in a ziploc bag. I also added a bit of black rice vinegar too before I realized I hadn't grabbed soy sauce, and liked it - I think it cut the sweetness a bit. Let the fish marinate for about half an hour, and then skewered it and cooked it under a broiler. It's such a simple recipe, so I thought that a spicy side dish would be nice with it. I made a cucumber and scallion salad tossed with nuoc cham I had in the 'fridge (spicy Vietnamese dipping sauce with ginger and chile), and garnished with aleppo pepper and more chopped scallions. Nice combination.


                                                              1. Shrimp and Black Rice Salad with Vietnamese Dressing, p. 79

                                                                I actually cheated since mom had just given me a fresh batch of nuoc cham/Vietnamese dressing (garlic, chilis, ginger, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and water). I used jumbo shrimp and Venere black rice (a cross between Chinese forbidden black rice and an Italian variety); I love the nuttiness and chewy texture of this rice.


                                                                I also tossed it with chopped cilantro and scallions and sprinkled it with aleppo pepper, mixing all with the dressing right before leaving the house - bringing it to Onefineleo's beautiful home for her "Forever Summer" dinner (what a great idea!) I thought it was a nice light salad addition to all the other wonderful dishes we enjoyed such as the wonderful starter of chilled pea and mint soup, as well as the watermelon/feta salad and zaatar chicken with fattoush. Desserts were delicious too - Nigellas's blonde mocha cake, and orange cornmeal cake with fresh whipped cream. (BTW this didn't include the excellent champagne punch and great wines - especially loved the nice sparkling red with dessert - and other delicious dishes Onefineleo whipped up such as red-wine marinated stuffed figs, hummus, deviled eggs, and that fabulous beet and yogurt salad from Arabesque - I'm sure I'm forgetting everything!). I'm hoping the gracious, generous hostess will post the full menu and other 'Hounds will chime in with their contributions ; ) What a great time.

                                                                I had also made extra salad for lunches this week. It's really nice to have in the fridge. Today I enjoyed it with chopped cilantro and hefty sprinkles of aleppo.

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: Rubee

                                                                  This salad was a beautiful addition to dinner. I’ve made a note of your changes to the original recipe, because I don’t think it would have been nearly as good without them. As made, however, it was delicious. And lovely.

                                                                  1. re: Rubee

                                                                    Was looking for a new shrimp dish and stumbled across this recipe for Shrimp & Black Rice Salad. Sounded good. Checked to see if anyone had tried it. Silly me. Of course you had, Rubee! And your report convinced me to give it a try.

                                                                    Made my own “dipping sauce” since I had the ingredients on hand. Decided, per the Rubee adaptation, to add scallions, but not the cilantro fearing it might overpower the other flavors. But I forgot (so I added them to the leftovers). I used forbidden rice. Is that the same as Nanking black rice? Close enough, I assume.

                                                                    What is it with me and this book? I haven’t like a thing I’ve made from it. This dish had an unpleasant, lingering, bitter/metallic back taste. Perhaps my fish sauce? Too much ginger? Don’t know what it was but I didn’t care for it. Hoped perhaps it would be better the next day. Oh my goodness! The black rice made the shrimp turn the most unappetizing color of dark gray (you might keep this in mind if you’re planning an upcoming Dracula party) and something in the marinade turned the shrimp the texture of softened Styrofoam peanuts. Really quite vile. Hard to believe that Rubee and I made the same dish. But then, I guess we actually didn’t. Before and after shots below.

                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                      Did you toss the shrimp with the rice? This reminded me of an arroz negro I had recently - the shrimp were on top, and in the shell, and looked beautiful against the black rice.

                                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                                        And shrimp DO get mushy if left too long in marinade-type ingredients.

                                                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                                                          Agreed. Last night, with the shrimp on top, it couldn't have been lovelier. I guess it was foolish of me not to have removed the shrimp before storing it overnight. I'll be a lot smarter next time I cook black rice.

                                                                    2. I made the chicken za'atar and fattoush. The salad was awesome! Everybody loved it. The chicken was okay, but I made it with boneless breast and thighs then grilled so maybe that took away something. I purcharsed the za'atar from penzeys and this spice blend isn't wowing me.

                                                                      Last night with the left over chicken I made the zuchinni fritters. They were really good. I am glad that I read somebody else say they were eggy because when I first read it I thought it would fry up more crunchy. My picky 16 year old daughter even liked them, trust me..that is a miracle.

                                                                      The omlet with goat cheese (forgot the name) was okay. I think I like my dinner omlets to have more punch to them. Maybe this would be better as a brunch for me.