Tomato, peach, Serrano ham, basil and vincotto

A lovely balanced dish with sweet, salty and acidic flavours and a variation on the classic Parma ham and melon combination. Perfect on a sunny day, it can either be done as an individual portion or as a platter. In this recipe Chef Steve gives you some nice pro tips on how to give this simple salad the edge.

Ingredients

  • 300g tomato Stall Isle of White cocktail tomatoes or San Marzano plum tomatoes
  • 2 ripe small peaches
  • 2 bunches basil
  • 100g Serrano ham
  • Vincotto or balsamic vinegar
  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Suggested Wine Pairing

Method

  • Put a deep pan of water on to boil
  • Lightly score a cross in the bottom of the tomatoes and peaches
  • Pick the sweet tips off the basil and put to one side
  • When the water is boiling rapidly drop the peaches into the boiling water for between 20-30 seconds then plunge them into the ice-cold water, repeat this process with the tomatoes
  • Last of all in the same water dip the basil into the boiling water for about 2 seconds and chill it in the ice-cold water, dry it gently with a cloth and blitz in a liquidizer or hand blender
  • Cut both the peaches and tomatoes into wedges and plate them nicely season with salt and pepper, be careful with the amount of salt you use, as the ham is salty
  • Before adding the ham, dress the fruits in this order: olive oil, basil oil, then the Vincotto. Try and avoid putting the Vincotto on the peaches for aesthetic reasons as it will discolour them
  • Add the ham letting it fold gently into curls
  • Finish with the basil tips and an extra drizzle of olive oil

Tip:

Plating this dish can be the thing that makes it or breaks it, so let the food do the work and use the curved edges of the fruit around the edge of the plate. You plate this salad directly onto the plate and season and dress as you go. I tend to season the tomatoes and peaches first before adding the Serrano ham as it’s already a little salty. When you dress the salad start by drizzling the least dense to the most dense oil. So olive oil first then basil oil and lastly the Vincotto or balsamic. Get some ice-cold water ready or add ice cubes to water before blanching the peaches and tomatoes and make sure your fruit is ripe.