Without question the finest summer salad you can make, Heston’s Peach, Parma Ham and Gruyere salad recipe
Salads – the perfect light meal for hot summer days (I learned this to my cost trying to eat a hefty meal of liver and mash on a boiling hot day sat outside the Clog and Billycock).
We’ve made this Waitrose salad recipe a few times, and the combination of flavours really does make it the perfect summer dish. It seemed like the perfect dish to wheel out for a waterside picnic on Salford Quays one hot July evening before a performance of Ilotope’s Water Fools , which is a floating musical ballet filled with “artistic nudity” (i.e. a Frenchman in white body paint with his willy out)
Special Equipment: None
Special Ingredients: None
Time: 10 – 15 minutes
Cost: Under £5
Serves: 2 – 4
Difficulty: Very easy
Uncharacteristically for Heston this is a wonderfully simple recipe. The trick is in the flavour pairings.
Start by slicing your peaches as thinly as you can. Getting your knife as sharp as possible will help here. To keep the salad well balanced about half a peach per person is best.
You can freeze the Parma ham to make it slightly easier to cut. This is one of those odd dishes where you want to use less meat rather than more. One pack is more than ample for four portions.
Being a massive food and film geek I have genuinely been all the way to the actual town of Gruyeres just to eat their cheese (and drink in the H.R. Giger bar). So, though we’ve usually some Gruyere in the fridge, I was caught out on this occasion. We substituted Parmesan, but it’s just not the same.
Dressing is a simple matter of neutral-flavoured groundnut oil, standard white wine vinegar and grain mustard. Plus a pinch of clove to pair up with the flavour of the peaches.
The final Hestony-thing is to reduce balsamic vinegar to a glaze for finishing his Peach, Parma Ham and Gruyere salad recipe. You’ll notice there’s no photos of this step.
That’s because I thought I could get away with using bog-standard supermarket balsamic glaze. This was a mistake. Reducing the balsamic can be slightly awkward and time-consuming – a lot of reports on the Waitrose forum tell of over-reduced syrups that turn into a tar-like sludge when they cool down.
The very reason Heston wants us to do this extra step is to avoid the painfully over-sweet flavours that most supermarket balsamic reductions have. Example: our bottle from Morrisons, which we’d suggest you avoid.
All we had to do then was toss the ham, cheese and peaches with a bag of rocket leaves, decant the dressing into an empty jar of capers then pack up and head for the Quays, sunshine and our naked Frenchman.
As we said, we have made this salad a few times before. And the reason for that is that it really is an exceptional recipe.
The combination of flavours that comes from adding clove to peach is inspired. This is a salad that tastes the way you imagine a perfect sunny afternoon would. And I say this as someone who is not a huge fan of cloves.
Heston’s Peach, Parma Ham and Gruyere salad is a great recipe. You ought to make it at least once every summer.
Rocket is treated like an extra condiment in our house, often with balsamic glaze alongside. If you’re also a regular user it’s genuinely worth getting a decent-ish balsamic and reducing a full bottle in one go.
To make: Rest a jug on some scales and keep tipping the liquid back and forth between the pan until you’ve reduced the weight by half. Store it in an emptied out squeezy bottle if possible, it will keep for ages.
You could obviously also add croutons or seed mix depending on your salad preferences.
Is this your ideal summer salad, or have you got a favourite summer salad recipe you think we should know about? Please tell us in the comments section below…