Tomato, Pecorino and Ricotta Pesto Tart, Parma Ham and Melon Salad
This tomato tart and salad is a real summer lunch treat and it couldn’t be easier, by using shop bought, pre-rolled puff pastry this dish can be on the table in 30 minutes. It’s good to have a few of these dishes up your sleeve for lazy days in the garden when you really can’t be bothered spending hours in the kitchen but want a tasty, quick meal. This ticks all the boxes and there is absolutely no compromise on flavour.
Parma ham together with melon offers the most delicious balance of sweetness and salt – I have used a cantaloupe for this but any juicy sweet melon will do. When it comes to the ham however I urge you to by the best Parma ham you can find as it really makes a big difference to the end result.
The long process of producing Parma Ham is what gives it the distinctive flavour. A rear haunch of pork is cured in pure sea salt to keep the meat sweet and tender – this begins to draw out the moisture, concentrating the flavour. It is then then hung in a cold space with good ventilation for up to seven months letting the local breeze add to its complex flavour. They can then be cured for almost any amount of time, some very old Parma Hams can be sold for ridiculous amounts of money, however your local deli will advise on the best for your budget. When eaten with this crispy tomato tart the flavours come into their own. Pour a glass of a nice dry Riesling to accompany this dish and enjoy the sun.
1 melon, cut into wedges
12 slices Parma Ham
10ml balsamic vinegar
1 packet puff pastry
6 beef tomatoes, sliced
1. Arrange melon on a plate with the ham, scatter the rocket and shave some Pecorino on top.
2. Mix evoo and balsamic then drizzle over the salad.
1. Cut pastry into desired shape.
2. Score 2cm in from the edge then fork over inside the marked edge.
3. Mix pesto with ricotta and spread over the centre of tart.
4. Arrange tomatoes over pesto mix, shave some Pecorino over, season and bake at Gas Mark 6 / 180 degrees C. for 20 minutes.