As summer starts to wind down I find myself in a frenzy trying to can, bottle and freeze as much of the season’s bounty as I can. I find that more and more eating seasonally has become second nature to me and the thought of buying strawberries in January is decidedly distasteful. But the thought of being able to open a jar of pickled cherries or blackberry preserves when the garden is deep in it’s winter slumber gives me comfort and makes me appreciate the seasons and what they have to offer all that much more.
I do find that this time of year I am drawn towards dishes that are simple to prepare with minimal cooking. This recipe is obviously inspired by a much more familiar dish, melon and prosciutto. The salty sweet combination of peaches and ham works beautifully, and with the addition of the basil oil and pistachio it makes it uniquely different. Since this is such a simple dish make sure to buy the best quality ingredients you can find, a little goes a long way. If you don’t have access to Parma ham, you could substitute prosciutto or some thinly sliced ham. The quantities in this recipe are pretty subjective, you can add more or less basil oil, vinegar and pistachios to suit your taste.
As much as I would love to take credit for this amazing combination of peaches, Parma and pistachios I must admit that I had the pleasure eating a version of it at one of my favorite Portland restaurants, Laurelhurst Market. After my first bite I just knew that I had to try to recreate it myself.
See you next week! If you can 't wait that long, you can always find me at www.scalingback.com !
Peaches, Parma and pistachios
4 slices Parma ham
¼ cup roasted pistachios finely chopped
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
basil leaves for garnish
For the basil oil:
1 cup basil leaves
½ cup good quality olive oil
For the basil oil:
Blanch the basil leaves in boiling salted water for 10 seconds and then immediately put them into an ice bath. Squeeze the excess water from the basil and then blot on paper towels. Put the basil in a blender with the oil and puree until the basil is finely chopped. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve and set aside to let the flavors develop while you finish the soup. Extra oil can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
Wash the peaches, cut in half and then cut each half into four slices. Cut each piece of Parma into four slices. To assemble, plate the peaches, place a basil leaf on each slice followed by a slice of the Parma, sprinkle the pistachios over the top and drizzle with the basil oil and a splash of balsamic.