This salad was rustled up on a recent weekend at home. My parents live in Suffolk; I find the regional produce of East Anglia is so inspiring. Local produce was the focus here, rather than thoughtful flavour parings, if I’m being honest, but we were totally delighted with the outcome. The salad is so incredibly simple, there is no cooking involved, thus the quality of the ingredients is absolutely key. I used Marsh Pig Coppa – air-dried pork. It’s top quality charcuterie produced in Norfolk, and sold at the local butchers. Use any charcuterie you desire, but make sure it’s of great quality. Likewise with the oil and the vinegar in your dressing.
This is a charming, easy, happy Summer salad. The recipe is a loose guide with no real fixed quantities.
This recipe serves 4 people
approximately 60g of Coppa, or dried pork of your choice
4 ripe apricots
1 fennel bulb
4 handfuls of seasonal leaves
1 small handful of pistachios
salt & pepper
for the dressing:
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
½ banana shallot, or 1 round shallot
1 teaspoon of honey
2 tablespoons of cider vinegar
4 tablespoons of extra virgin rapeseed oil, or oil of your choice
salt & peper
First, if you have the time and inclination, roast the pistachios in a moderate oven for 5 minutes. It seemed a faff to me to preheat the oven for this little task, so I used the nuts raw and it was delicious… dry-roasting them will of course enhance their flavour and improve their crunch. It’s up to you!
Toast the fennel seeds in a dry frying pan for 2-3 minutes, or just until you can smell their toasty aniseed flavour being released. Move them constantly about in the pan. Crush in a pestle and mortar if you wish; I love them kept whole.
As finely as you can, dice the shallot, and mix with the toasted fennel seeds, the honey, oil, cider vinegar and some seasoning.
De-stone the apricots and cut into eighths. Finely slice the fennel, or shave on a mandolin. Keep and fronds for decorating; perhaps the most beautiful garnish!
Roughly chop the pistachios.
Simply arrange the salad ingredients on a large plate or platter, starting by scattering some leaves, then some apricots, then fennel etc. etc. The pork looks very pretty folded into little cones as this gives the salad some height. Spoon over the dressing, and top with fennel fronds, the chopped pistachios, a pinch of sea salt and a twist of black pepper.