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.
Reprinted with permission from Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard by Nigel Slater. Copyright 2010, 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.
- Yield:serves 2
- Active time: 15 minutes
- Total time:15 minutes
- 4 generous handfuls salad leaves
- 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 ounces thinly sliced cured ham, such as lomo, speck, or coppa
- 4 handfuls cherries
- For the Dressing
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- a little parsley
Make the dressing: Put the mustard in a small bowl with a pinch of salt, the red wine vinegar, olive oil, and a grinding of black pepper. Mix with a fork or small whisk, then introduce the cream. Finely chop the parsley leaves and add to the dressing.
Toss the salad leaves with the cured ham. Halve and pit the cherries and add them to the leaves. Drizzle over the dressing and serve.