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Whangarei Report - - BITE - Colleen Thorpe Jamie Cooks Italy by Jamie Oliver is pub­lished by Pen­guin Ran­dom House © Jamie Oliver En­ter­prises Lim­ited (2018 Jamie Cooks Italy), pho­tog­ra­phy: David Lof­tus

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

In­gre­di­ents

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

Method

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

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