Pitting cherries is messy, cutting-board staining business, but when Nigel Slater implores you to de-seed the fruit and pair it with cured ham and tender lettuce greens, it's hard to argue. His Salad of Summer Leaves, Cured Pork, and Cherries in Ripe takes these three key players and marries them with a simple creamy vinaigrette. This dressing is far from Ranch-like in flavor or viscosity, instead getting its richness from cream itself. It drizzles into the nooks and crannies of the cherries and clings gently to the pork and lettuce, making for a rich, satisfying lunch.
Why I picked this recipe: Cherries are one of summertime's most tantalizing fruits; paired with cured ham and an intriguing cream-based vinaigrette, this salad screamed "must eat now."
What worked: The salad was a breeze to assemble, and the cream emulsified into the vinaigrette with ease.
What didn't: I found the salad a little too meat-heavy, even when using the lower range of ham. I'd scale that back and maybe up the fruit next time.
Suggested tweaks: This recipe presents a great excuse to experiment with different types of cured ham. I used speck this time around, but I'd love to try the salad with a leaner option, like lomo, next.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard to give away.