This is a spectacular summer salad devised by Yotam Ottolenghi of Ottolenghi’s in London and published in the Summer BBQ series in the Guardian on Saturdays. I had wanted to make it since it was published (2 weeks ago?) but I didn’t have the orange blossom water required nor had I the time to go source it. I spotted it on a trip to Borough Market on Saturday and with that purchase was all set. I went to the farmers market in Queen’s Park on Sunday to get the leaves but the leaves specified in the recipe weren’t available so I bought mizuna & mustard leaves instead of baby chard, endives & watercress. These worked really well and I think, really, you could use rocket, it would counter the sweetness of the peach nicely and is readily available.
Speck is a meat that I only discovered 4 years ago when I started working in the Kings Cross area and started shopping in the italian deli, KC Continental Stores on Caledonian Rd. It’s a dry-cured smoked Italian ham from the Alto Adige region of Italy. We use it in the place of prosciutto regularly, it has a really strong smoky flavour and works well in dishes like carbonara, or wrapped around asparagus. The combination with peach is inspired and it’s one I plan to experiment with a bit more. The orange blossom water isvery sweet but is countered by the balsamic vinegar and works well with the richness of the speck.
The recipe doesn’t appear to be published on the Guardian website so I’ll reproduce it here. I haven’t tried any of the other Ottolenghi recipes but plan to try more and await his cookbook which will be published in Spring 2008. The Guardian Weekend Magazine publishes a vegetarian Ottolenghi recipe every Saturday. For now, I’ll continue to eat at one of his café’s in Islington or Notting Hill, one handy for work & the other handy for home :)
I’ll write the recipe as it was in the Guardian as the only changes I made are to the leaves.
5 peahces, cored, halved & cut into thirds
1 tbsp olive oil
100g baby chard leaves
100g speck cut into very thin slices
45ml olive oil
3tbsp orange blossom water
1tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
1tbsp maple syrup
a pinch each of sea salt & fresh ground black pepper
Coat the peaches in the olive oil in a bowl and season with S&P.
Heat a griddle pan until very hot and griddle the peaches for one minute on each side until you get nice charcoal lines.
Allow to cool.
Make the dressing by mixing all of the dressing ingredients. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Arrange the salad ingredients on a serving platter/plate. Spoon over enough dressing to lightly coat.