The best bits

A mid-week salad is always looked on favorably during the summer months at my house. It's easy to throw together, but doesn't have to be any less flavorful than a more time consuming meal. I've been meaning to find something to do with the speck I picked up at the store recently. Speck is slightly thicker than proscuitto, but the cured Italian meat is flavored nicely and has a slightly smokier and spicy taste. Jamie Oliver's recipe for a salad with speck, strawberries and halloumi caught my eye, but alas, I could not find halloumi. This Cypriot cheese is readily available in London, and it melts beautifully when grilled.

Maybe this was a good thing, as I decided to throw together my own ingredients with a balsamic vinaigrette. Most importantly, I concluded that strawberry season isn't quite upon us, but I found some plump apricots at the market, as well as some dried Bing cherries in my pantry that inspired me to take this in a different direction.

On the surface, my husband, Martin, loves the idea of a salad. He likes to eat healthily as long as it doesn't include green stuff. If he read all the ingredients below, he'd smile upon each one, until he reached the greens. "Easy on the arugula for me, luv" is normally what he says as I'm piling each salad plate high with a bed of baby greens. He proceeds to eat only "the best bits" as he calls them. Never mind.

Apricot and Speck Salad with Dried Bing Cherries & Pistachios
Serves 2

2 apricots, quartered
1 ball of buffalo mozzarella cheese, torn into eight pieces
6 slices of speck
1/4 cup of dried Bing cherries
1/4 cup of raw pistachios, unsalted
2 handfuls of arugula (or rocket in the UK)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Pile plates high with salad leaves and roughly arrange ingredients on top to cover the greens. Combine the extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Shake well. Drizzle dressing and serve. I like to serve this on it's own with some crusty bread, especially if I've indulged in too much bread and cheese over a glass of wine before dinner time. It also works as a side dish to accompany pasta with a vegetarian or creamy sauce for a larger crowd. In that case, I take a large platter and serve it in the middle so everyone can help themselves.


  1. I wish I was eating this right now...

  2. Randy said...

    Speck is good, but it would be be the best if from San Daniele. Unfortunately, most people have only had the proscuitto from the Parma region. Too bad. The area around San Daniele has a micro climate that produces (in my opinion) the best proscuitto in the world!

  3. You're right Randy! San Daniele is the best....too bad mine was from Costco :(

  4. sounds lovely, hope I can modify it a little as we are in the uk.

  5. Most things should be available in the UK- in fact most of my recipes use things that are available in both the US and UK. Dried cherries or dried cranberries will work and speck and/or prosciutto are available in most groceries.

  6. You need to find yourself a good halloumi supplier out there - its my favourite treat! Let me know if you need some mailing over if thats allowed!

  7. i'm like martin! i only like the best, little bits :) xx