Get your summer starters repertoire lined up

Here’s 3 (very tasty) sharing starters to get your family and friends relaxed and chatting around the table together.

  1. Tomato salad with burrata and ‘nduja sauce
  2. Tomatoes and lardo on toast with basil oil
  3. Manchego, olives, almonds and salami board

Cooking isn’t meant to be over-complicated for us home cooks.

It’s meant to be fun.

And the kitchen should be full of people, giving a hand… or just sipping wine chatting to you.

So, this is my 2nd addition to ‘Starters’.

Check out my 3 simple bruschetta starters for more ideas.

Simple ingredients, great flavours

I said it in my first post about starters.

And I’ll say it again…

It’s all about having the best ingredients (not lots of ingredients).

To give maximum flavour.

And I’ll admit, I’ve been on a very long journey with food and cooking.

Which is why, I really have come to the conclusion (that all great cooks already knew!)…

You need; quality, quality, quality.

And where possible, buy locally sourced.

So, I hope these dishes inspire you to try some new ingredients.

Such as trying ‘nduja; a spicy spreadable salami.

Which can be used so many more times in pasta dishes, sausage stews, spread over a chicken for roasting, bruschetta etc.

 So, I think (and hope) you’ll enjoy discovering some of these ingredients.

I know I have.

3 (very tasty) sharing starters

Tomato salad with burrata and ‘nduja sauce

Ok, so straight out of the gate, I’m pushing the boat out on this one.

This is a great summer starter.

It has the warm spice of the ‘nduja, fresh vibrant tomatoes, and indulgent burrata.

Your guests will fall in love with you all over again.

And you can find ‘nduja and burrata on most online Italian shops, just google it.

Or if you have a good deli nearby, they’ll stock these ingredients.

PREP TIME: 20 mins
Sharing starter
£-££ (but you can use ‘nduja for approx 1 -2 mths if kept in the fridge)


  • 400g tomatoes (if you can find a mix of sizes and colours, it will make the plate look even more incredible but don’t worry of you can’t)
  • 4 tbsp sea salt flakes
  • Olive oil
  • 1 small clove of a shallot, finely diced
  • 25g ’nduja
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar (try and opt for a good quality one)
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 burrata
  • basil a handful of small leaves
  • crusty bread to serve (optional)


  1. Use a small serrated knife to slice the tomatoes thinly, then layer on a platter.
  2. If the tomatoes have been in the fridge, do this at least 20 mins before you want to eat to let them come up to room temperature.
  3. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a small pan over a gentle heat.
  5. Add the shallot and cook until softened.
  6. Remove from the heat and add the ‘nduja, whisking together. Whisk in the vinegar and sugar.
  7. Tear the burrata over the tomatoes. Spoon over the dressing, then top with basil leaves.
  8. Eat with crusty bread on the side

Olive Magazine

Tomatoes and lardo on toast with basil oil

Tomato, lardo with basil oil

PREP TIME: 15 mins
Sharing starter

OK, so again, we’re trying something a bit different.


And it may sound disgusting of you’re never come across it.

But I’m telling you, this stuff is incredibledangerously good.

So, what is lardo?

Lardo is cured pork back fat, often flavoured with herbs, such as a rosemary, and spices.

Then it’s thinly sliced and served as charcuterie.

Or you can layer it on top of, almost anything.

And watch it melt a little, then tuck in.

The real deal lardo comes from Italy, of course.

The most famous lardo is from the Tuscan hamlet of Colonnata.

Where it’s been made since Roman times.

Lardo di Colonnata has been given IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) status.

The same way champagne can only be called champagne if it’s from the region of Champagne.


Basil Oil

  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, stemmed and washed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes


  • 4 large ripe tomatoes, thickly sliced
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 4 slices sourdough
  • ½ garlic clove
  • 12 thin slices lardo


How to make basil olive oil

  1. Wash and dry the basil.
  2. Place the basil, water, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes in mini-food processor and blend.
  3. Add the olive oil and pulse a few times until you have a smooth sauce.

Build your starter

  • Put the tomatoes, 1 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil, the red wine vinegar and some seasoning in a bowl, mix and leave for an hour at room temperature.
  • Toast the sourdough slices and rub with the half clove of garlic.
  • Top with the tomatoes, a good drizzle of the basil oil and the lardo slices.
  • Blowtorch the lardo, or put under a hot grill, to lightly melt.

Manchego, olives, almonds and salami board

Now, you may think.

That’s a massive cheat to just add in a ‘recipe’ (that’s not a recipe)

But why not?!

Sometimes doing a full-on starter at home, just seems a lot of extra work.

And with summer here (finally, I might add).

Why not create meals that mean you also get to kick-back in the sun.

While your main dish bubbles away.

So, that’s why I’m a MASSIVE fan of charcuterie boards.

And getting a nice combo of bit and pieces is key.

You can serve it with some fresh bread, extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic.

Because, a nice board like this one, isn’t the cheapest option, I’ll admit that.

But it’s a nice treat.

And if you want a cheaper option, check out my bruschetta recipes.

But this sharing platter will serve 6 of your friends and family.


You’ll need 200g of each item, below…

  • Manchego cheese
  • mixed Spanish olives
  • salted almonds
  • salami (I love a walnut salami but there are loads on offer)

And remember, it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.


What some more ideas on summery sides?

Check out my series of posts, starting here.