We are very much of the opinion that salads shouldn’t be boring, wet and tasteless. So that’s why we’ve already started making recipes from the beautiful Savour by Peter Gordon (£25, Jacqui Small), which is bursting with salad concoctions involving some very creative combinations. This recipe, for jamón ibérico, peaches, mozzarella and purple pesto is easy to put together and is basically a sweet-savoury-creamy taste sensation. Woop. Swap in normal basil leaves and Italian prosciutto if you can’t find the fancy stuff.
Ingredients (serves four as a starter):
For the purple pesto:
1 small garlic clove, crushed
1/4 tsp finely grated lemon zest
20 purple basil leaves
3 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted
20g (3/4 oz./3/4 tbsp) finelygrated Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
1 handful wild rocket
3 or 4 peaches (I used doughnut peaches as they were the best on the day)
250g (9oz) bocconcini mozzarella
100g (3.5oz) jamón ibérico, thinly sliced
6 edible flowers for garnish (optional)
Make the purple pesto. Pound the garlic and lemon zest with ¼ teaspoon of salt using a mortar and pestle. Pound in the basil four leaves at a time (any more and they will fly out of the mortar). Add the pine nuts and pound to a chunky consistency, then mix in the Parmesan, olive oil and lemon juice. Taste for seasoning.
To serve, scatter the rocket (arugula) on your platter. Cut the peaches in half, remove the stone, cut into wedges and place on top of the rocket. Gently pull each bocconcini almost in half to expose their centres and sit them among the peaches. Lay the jamón on, tucking it in loosely, then dollop on the pesto. Finally, scatter with the edible flowers, if using.
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