|Roast nectarine, mozzarella and almond salad|
Happy last day of August everyone. The British summer kind of came good in the end, didn't it? Certainly August had enough sunny days in it for me to wear most items of my summer wardrobe once, and to develop my obsession with sticking fruit in salads.
This recipe is for these last, fade-to-grey days of summer. It's for using up those stubborn nectarines that skulk in the fruit bowl, refusing to ripen and remaining steadfastly rock-hard. Roast them in the oven, sprinkled with a little brown sugar and butter to coax out the sweetness (I know you're in there somewhere, sweetness). Serve with mozzarella, toasted flaked almonds and lots of rocket and watercress.
Of course, you could add a dash of vanilla extract to the sugar and butter and you also have the makings of an easy last-days-of-summer pudding. Top with a blob of creme fraiche and err, probably leave out the rocket and watercress.
Roast nectarine, mozzarella and almond salad
For the salad
20g dark muscavado sugar
15g butter, at room temperature
75g flaked almonds
1 x 125g ball mozzarella
For the dressing
1 tsp Dijon mustard
4 tbsp groundnut oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7
Cut the nectarines into thick slices. Place in a roasting tin or on a baking tray and crumble the sugar and butter over the top. Roast for 20 minutes or until lightly golden, then leave to cool.
Meanwhile, toast the flaked almonds in a small, dry frying pan over a medium heat. Keep a close eye on them and remove from the heat when they start to turn golden. Leave to cool.
Make the dressing by stirring together the mustard, lime and soy sauce, then slowly adding the oil until it is all combined and you have a smooth, pale yellow vinaigrette.
Divide the rocket and watercress between the four plates. Tear pieces of mozzarella off the ball and add to each plate. Sprinkle over the almonds, add the nectarine slices and then drizzle over the dressing. Sprinkle over a little sea salt and black pepper to finish.