The summer holidays are drawing to an end, my daughter went back to school today and my son follows on Wednesday. In the summer on my days off from work we love eating meze style lunches outside. Our top favourite lunch – requested at least 2-3 times a week is based on mozzarella and parma ham usually with seasonal fruit. It’s inspired by a recipe in one of the early Jamie Oliver books, which he called The Easiest Sexiest Salad in the World, but over the years I’ve tweaked it and adapted it according to what I have available. Its stretching a point really to say this one comes from my garden – only the basil did, the rest was from Co-op, but it’s still delicious. It’s also incredibly quick and easy.
Favourite summer salad
Enough for 3-4
2 Mozzarella balls
4 slices of Parma Ham (also delicious with Pata Negra)
Handful of basil leaves
Bunch of Flat Leafed Parsley – optional
2-3 peaches or 6 figs or half a melon – optional
For the dressing:
Juice of 1/2 a Lemon
tsp Runny Honey
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Drain the mozzarella and break into chunks. Tear the parma ham into smaller bits (this normally happens anyway automatically when you get it out of the packet) and drape artistically around the mozzarella. If using peaches cut each peach into 6-8 slices and arrange. If using figs (which is our real favourite version, but only really available in Sept/Oct) slice a cross in the top – you don’t want to cut them in quarters just go half way down, and then push in at the sides so that the dressing will sink down into the juicy fig. With melon – slices rather than big chunks probably looks best.
Sometimes if I don’t have any of the right sort of fruit in the house I use flat leaf parsley like a salad leaf – I don’t chop it up, just break it up a bit into leaves and scatter over the top. Tear basil leaves over the top liberally.
For the dressing put all the ingredients together into a jam jar and shake until the honey is dissolved. Drizzle over the salad. Its quite a lot of dressing but it always gets mopped up with bread afterwards.
I usually serve this as part of a very simple mezze – bread, olives, tomatoes, maybe some hummus and tabbouleh or other salads from the garden.