Friday, April 27, 2007

Combinations 12: ham salad

Sun 22 April 2007

Another combinations exercise that we just managed to sneak in! This month, Andrew at Spittoon chose a ham salad. OK, it's not quite a ham salad ... it's culatello with melon and pecorino. We had to sneak in a few alterations, substituting in both parma ham and parmesan. We used honeydew melon.

It's a very easy dish to put together. Slice some honeydew melon, top with curls of the parma ham and shave some parmesan cheese over the top. Sprinkle with some finely sliced basil. The dressing was olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some chilli oil (it turned out we did actually have some fresh chillis after we had made this little substitution!). Sprinkle this over the salad and sit down with a drink.

In our case, the drink was a lightly chilled bottle of Brown Brothers 2005 Tarrango (£6.99 from Hoults). A delicate nose with a hint of berries, it had more of them on the palate. Good structure and a nice long palate, with a hint of residual sweetness. A very nice wine indeed!

After the lipsmacking of the wine tasting was done - how did it go with the food? Very well. It was a very good match, although we both felt that the wine was perhaps a little too strong for the dressing: if we'd used fresh chilli the dressing would have had more strength and stood up better to the wine. I would definitely both drink the wine again, and match it to this dish, though I'd also be happy to experiment with roses, or maybe even other light reds.

To be honest, I'd probably be a little reluctant to make the salad again. Not because I didn't enjoy it and not because it's not a classic Italian combination - but because I'd be worried my guests thought I'd been raiding the Jamie Oliver cookbooks!! So maybe I'll reserve it for an emergency late afternoon snack type of dish! I think that I'd also be tempted to cube the melon and macerate it, maybe just in a bit of vinegar and basil. Obviously I'd also use fresh chilli in preference to chilli oil!

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Blogger Andrew said...

I would NEVER have thought of Terrango! What an inspired choice. My entry is going to have to wait until my return from Spain but I still have no idea what wine to select!

2:11 pm  
Blogger Alex said...

I can't claim credit - all Claire at Hoults!

12:06 pm  

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