Who doesn’t love Jamie Oliver? He’s flippin’ lovely jubbly and cooks pukka tukka!
If you were his granny you would knit him jerseys with reindeer on for Christmas and just smother him with kisses everytime you saw him. And I have no doubt Oliver would lap it up.
But there’s more, as we know, to Jamie Oliver than just that cheeky smile and wicked on-screen charisma.
He can cook! He has set up numerous restaurants across the UK, changed school dinners in the UK and revolutionised home cooking. He’s on our TV most nights, has written more than 20 cookbooks and has set up a charity to improve people’s lives through food.
Oliver also likes to travel and his latest book focuses on his love for Italy. He brings the pleasure and passion of the world’s favourite cuisine to your own kitchen.
The recipes are a mix of fast and slow cooking, familiar classics with an Oliver-twist, simple everyday dishes and more indulgent labour-of-love choices for weekends and celebrations.
Following is a recipe from Jamie Cooks Italy.
GRILLED APRICOT SALAD Flowering thyme, mozzarella, pink peppercorns & prosciutto
Years ago, when I first learnt to appreciate the way Italians use fruit in salads, it changed my concept of a salad for good. It took it from a wimpy side dish to a true gastronomic experience.
This recipe is about celebrating textures and brightness, and I think you’ll love it. You could swap in other seasonal stone fruit. Serves 4; Total time: 25 minutes
8 ripe apricots
8 sprigs of fresh thyme, ideally the flowering kind olive oil
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar extra virgin olive oil
1 big pinch of pink peppercorns
1⁄2 a red onion
2 large handfuls of salad leaves, such as escarole, Castelfranco, wild rocket
4 slices of higher-welfare prosciutto
125g ball of mozzarella cheese 1 lemon
Put a griddle pan on a high heat. Halve and destone the apricots then, on a platter, toss with half the thyme sprigs and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Place the dressed fruit cut side down on the hot griddle for 6 minutes, or until charred and caramelized, turning halfway.
Meanwhile, pour the vinegar on to the platter with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Crush and crumble the pink peppercorns over the platter, then peel, very finely slice and sprinkle over the onion, giving it a little mix in the dressing to lightly pickle it. Pick through your salad leaves, tearing or slicing the larger ones. Add to the platter and gently toss together, then season to perfection.
Tear the prosciutto and it drape over in waves.
Gently tear open the mozzarella, season with sea salt, black pepper, a fine grating of lemon zest and a few drips of extra virgin olive oil, then tear over the salad. Place your grilled apricots in and around the salad, sprinkling over any crispy thyme leaves and the remaining leaves and flowers.
Drizzle with a tiny bit more extra virgin olive oil, then serve. CALORIES 244kcal FAT 18.9g SAT FAT 6.3g PROTEIN 10g CARBS 9.2g SUGAR 8.6g SALT 1.3g FIBRE 1.1g
Jamie Cooks Italy by Jamie Oliver, Penguin Random House, $65