Summer provides us with a wealth of incredible vegetables to work with, and this dish from chef Alan Stewart does them proud. Cooking the squash whole over coals gives it an incredible flavour, and once paired with creamy mozzarella, piquant lightly cooked tomatoes and fermented chillies (which are well worth making a batch of!), the resulting dish is pure summer on a plate.
Begin by fermenting the chillies, as they take a minimum of 2 weeks to ferment. Place the chillies in a clean, sterilised jar, ensuring they’re tightly packed. Mix a litre of water with 20g of salt to create a 2% salt brine, then pour this into the jar, ensuring the chillies are completely submerged. Seal and leave the jar at room temperature for 2 weeks, opening and then closing the lid every day or so to allow the built-up gas to escape. After 2 weeks, store the jar in the fridge – the chillies will keep indefinitely
Light a barbecue and wait until the coals turn white, and preheat an oven to 160°C/gas mark 3
Place the whole squash on the barbecue and cook, turning occasionally, until they are very well charred on the outside and have started to soften. Transfer them to a sheet of foil then drizzle with oil, season with salt and place a few nasturtium leaves on top. Wrap tightly and place in the oven to finish cooking for around 12 minutes
Meanwhile, gently cook the diced shallot in the 40ml of olive oil until soft, seasoning with a little salt. Roughly chop the tomatoes and 1 fermented red chilli, then add then to the pan along with the cider vinegar. Cook over a gentle heat until the tomatoes begin to break down
To serve, slice the squash into bite-sized pieces and divide between 2 plates. Tear chunks of mozzarella and place them on top, then chop some nasturtium leaves and stir them into the dressing. Spoon over the tomato dressing and garnish with capers, nasturtium leaves and flowers