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Salad of poached cherries, goat’s cheese, roasted red onions, Parma ham and toasted hazelnuts

message posted 03-May-08 10:22:03
Serves: 4
150g cherries
80ml dry sherry such as manzanilla or fino
1 generous tablespoon of good quality honey
A handful of mixed leaves (we use beet tops, white dandelion, basil, mint, chervil and rocket)
300g soft young goat’s curd
12 slices Parma ham
1 red onion, peeled and cut into eighth-inch thick pinwheels
30ml extra virgin olive oil
50ml balsamic vinegar
1tbsp sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
80g hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1tbsp finely chopped curly-leaf parsley
For the dressing
1tsp Dijon mustard
3tsp poaching liquid from the cherries
1tsp lemon juice
50ml extra virgin olive oil


Put the honey and sherry into a small saucepan and place over a gentle heat. Allow the honey to melt before turning off the heat and allowing the liquid to reduce and thicken slightly.

Remove from the heat and pour over the cherries.

To roast the onions

Place the pinwheels of onions in a baking tray. Pour over the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Sprinkle over the sugar and season with a little salt and pepper.

Place in a pre-heated oven (180C) and roast for 25 minutes, turning once during the cooking time.

Remove from the oven and allow the onions to cool to room temperature.

To make the dressing

Place the mustard and cherry syrup in a bowl and add the lemon juice, a little salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Pour the oil in slowly, whisking as you do so, so that the vinaigrette has a homogenised, even quality about it. Set aside.

To assemble the salad

Place the salad leaves in a bowl. Dress lightly with a couple of teaspoons of dressing.

Toss lightly together with your fingertips. Divide among four plates.

Now simply layer your salad, starting with a slice of Parma ham, a crumbling of goat’s cheese, a little red onion and a cherry or two.

Continue in this vein until you have used up all your ingredients.

Scatter each plate with the toasted, chopped hazelnuts. Spoon over the rest of the vinaigrette and finally sprinkle over the parsley.

Serve immediately.

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