salad

Under the italian sun.

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Italia!… what a refreshing place to arrive in, after after two months cooking in Eastern Europe.
Don’t get me wrong. I had an absolute ball in Croatia, it was the perfect summer. But as far as the fresh produce goes…. Flat, flavourless and most of it days-old and wilted… No bueno!

Italy on the other hand… Big juicy red tomatoes that smell of the vines they were grown on. Peaches, nectarines and plums, bursting with the taste of summer. And the basil – unlike basil I’ve seen anywhere before. With leaves the size of lettuce leaves and the smell of a vibrant italian garden!

I don’t think I’ve gone a day without adding a Caprese salad to each meal. Mozzarella balls come in every size and shape you can imagine and then there’s the olive oil… the quality of it. I can’t help but drown erre-thang in that olivy goodness!

Whilst Croatia and Montenegro were quite un-inspiring in the cuisine department, I did manage to smuggle a couple of gems with me on route to Italy. One thing they do very well there at this time of year is watermelon – big tooty fruits the size of small humans and bursting with summer goodness.

I teamed chunks of watermelon with a few yellow peaches, some of that curly fragrant basil, a radicchio, some toasted pinenuts and created a beaut of a salad for this summer heat.

This one’s simple to make and incredibly delicious. So long as you can source the freshest produce that is in season, you have yourself a winner dinner for a summer’s eve – Made even better if you can enjoy it under the Italian sun!

WATERMELON, PEACH, RADICCHIO, BASIL AND PINENUT SALAD

For the salad
2x yellow peaches sliced
1x cup cubed watermelon
1/2 a radicchio
handful of basil leaves
1/4 cup toasted pinenuts

a few edible flowers
pinch of black lava salt

Basil oil
1/4 cup olive oil
handful of basil leaves
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper
squeeze of lemon juice

To make the basil oil. Blend all ingredients and strain. Add more or less lemon and seasoning to suit your tastes.

Plate all the other ingredients as desired and top with some edible flowers, the basil oil, a sprinkle of lava salt and a few drops of balsamic glaze.

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