Chargrilled chicken, crispy prosciutto and nectarine salad

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Now I’m not usually a fan of salads with fruit in them but this little beauty has converted me! This chicken, prosciutto and nectarine salad is sure to become one of your staple summer salads when evenings are balmy, time is short perhaps or you’re entertaining and want a lighter option. The ingredients in this have been chosen to give balance; the salty prosciutto, the savoury cheese, sweet nectarine and some added texture from the toasted walnuts and it is all brought together with a dressing that could not be more straightforward so raid the supermarket and get cooking!

Ingredients- serves 2-3
Olive oil
2 large skinless chicken breasts
4 slices of prosciutto
Handful of walnut halves
2 ripe nectarines- stone removed and sliced into wedges
Small log of soft goat cheese
Mixed salad leaves such as sweet lettuce, watercress and rocket

For the dressing
2 tbsps olive oil
2 tsps Dijon mustard
1 tsp runny honey
2 tbsps lemon juice
Salt and pepper to season

1. If you want to get ahead you can make the dressing in advance simply combining all the dressing ingredients and mixing together well; chill until needed. Next up crisp the prosciutto by dry frying the slices in a frying pan over a medium heat. Remove from the heat when the prosciutto is crisp and slightly golden and set aside. Pop in the walnuts and toast for a couple of minutes before also setting aside.

2. Wrap the chicken in clingfilm and use a meat tenderiser or rolling pin to hit it out so each breast is around the same thickness so they cook evenly. Rub the chicken in a glug of olive oil and season well. Heat a griddle pan to medium- high and cook each breast for around 4 minutes on each side until you cooked through and the juices run clear. Set aside and allow to rest.

3. Add another glug of oil in the frying pan that you had cooked the prosciutto in. Heat to medium and add the nectarine wedges; fry until caramelised but still holding their shape.

4. Take a large mixing bowl and toss the salad leaves with a little of the dressing so the leaves are evenly coated. Add the prosciutto, nectarines, prosciutto and walnuts and combine well. Slice the chargrilled chicken and add. Serve on a platter so everyone can help themselves and finish by dotting the cheese over the salad; drizzle with a little more of the dressing and serve.

Chargrilled chicken, crispy prosciutto and nectarine salad- because sweet and savoury are a match made in heaven!

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Creamy salmon, watercress and spinach rosti bake

A fish pie is such a classic recipe that people know and love all over the land however when the weather is warmer and the need for comfort food is high this is perfect. Move over mashed potato and usher in the dawn of the rosti! I used sockeye salmon which is firmer than most salmon so can stand up to cooking in a sauce. The addition of spinach and watercress is a welcome one to add a peppery kick which balances with the creamy sauce.

The crunchy rosti topping is easier to make than you think so do give it a go. Just make sure that the potato is well seasoned after you grate it. The potato strands need a quick rinse to remove the excess starch that comes out when they’re grated but this does not affect the end result. So, on your marks, get set… cook!

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Ingredients- serves 2
20g unsalted butter
20g plain flour
150ml milk
150ml double cream
2 salmon fillets
100g watercress
100g spinach
300g waxy potatoes such as Desiree
Lemon
Salt and pepper

1. Get going by making the sauce as this can be simmering away whilst you prepare the salmon. Take a pan and melt the butter and flour together to form a roux. Combine the milk and cream in a jug and gradually add this to the roux, stirring as you go to avoid any lumps. If a lump does sneak it, simply remove the pan from the heat and whisk the sauce until it disappears. Continue until all of it has been added and increase the heat to a gentle boil before lowering it again to a simmer. Stir until the sauce is thickened and silky; set aside to allow to cool slightly.

2. For the salmon, cut the fillets into large chunks. Choose an ovenproof baking dish and pop the salmon in. Take the watercress and spinach and gently wilt it in a pan before draining out any excess liquid and adding to the baking dish along with the salmon. Pour over the sauce.

3. Now is the time to preheat the oven to 180c/ 160 fan ready for baking. To prepare the potato rosti topping, bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the potatoes until just tender but firm enough to grate. Grate into long strands and refresh them by plunging them into a bowl of cold water. Remove and pat dry with kitchen paper. Add a squeeze of lemon to the potato strands, season well and scatter the strands over the top of the pie. Bake the pie for around half an hour so the salmon is cooked through and the pie topping is crunchy and golden. Serve with a simple leafy salad.

Creamy salmon, watercress and spinach rosti bake- a lighter version of an all time favourite!

 

Balsamic roasted beetroot with lentil and sausages

This makes use of some of the best seasonal ingredients around at the moment and it is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Earthy, sweet and may make up the perfect combination!

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Ingredients- serves 2
150g green lentils
250g beetroot- washed and cut into wedges
1 large red onion- peeled and cut into wedges
3 garlic cloves- kept whole
2 tbsp good balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
4 good quality sausages- I used Toulouse style sausages
Handful of watercress leaves

For the dressing
3 tbsp olive oil
4 tsp wholegrain mustard
Squeeze of lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 180c/ 160 fan. Get the lentils on the go by placing in a pan of cold water, bringing it to the boil for 10 minutes before lowering to a simmer for the next 20-25 minutes until the lentils are tender. When they are ready, drain and set aside.

2. For the roasted vegetables, place the beetroot and onion wedges in a roasting tray along with the whole garlic cloves (do not peel these). Add in the olive oil and vinegar and toss well to coat all the vegetable wedges. Roast for 45-60 minutes until the vegetables are tender when tested with a sharp knife. I checked the vegetables from time to time and turned them as needed to ensure even cooking.

3. Meanwhile cook the sausages until cooked through and golden on the outside. While they are cooking you can make the dressing by combining the mustard, oil and lemon juice. Remember to taste as you go and make any adjustments to suit your tastes. Take a large bowl and combine the lentils, vegetables and a splash of the dressing. You can either fish the garlic out of the roasting pan and discard or, do as I do, and squeeze the roasted garlic from the cloves and mix through with the lentils. Just before serving add in the watercress leaves.

4. Serve in warmed bowls with the juicy sausages on top of a bed of lentils and finished with a good drizzle of the mustard dressing.