Asparagus and iberico ham salad
I can’t eat salad when it’s dark outside, so strong is my association of salad with sunshine. So suppers like this only really become an option at the height of summer, when it’s light until late and I’ve still got time to put this together after work.
I built this salad around the discovery of a jar of iberico pork fat in the supermarket and what a little jar of joy it turned out to be. I decided to showcase its rich, deep ham flavour by using lashings of it to make delicious crispy, meaty croutons out of some leftover bread.
Asparagus and ham are natural partners, and with the asparagus season still going in the UK it felt like the obvious choice. So just 10 minutes with a frying pan will make this substantial salad to enjoy whilst the sun goes down.
Start by trimming a handful of asparagus spears, just chopping off the woody ends. Place in your frying pan with a good splash of water, clamp the lid on and steam for 2-3 minutes until all the water has evaporated.
Push the asparagus to one side and spoon in a generous tablespoon of iberico pork fat, or other oil of your choosing. Cube some leftover bread and toss in the melted fat, frying over a moderate heat for a few minutes, turning occasionally till browned all over.
Finally tear up 2 or 3 slices of iberico ham and drop into the pan to briefly sizzle and crisp. Tip everything on top of a good serving of mixed leaves, which I lightly dressed with a sweet balsamic vinaigrette. My husband likes a fried egg with this too, which is easily dropped into the pan alongside the frying croutons.
Serves 1, takes 10 minutes.
Asparagus spears – 6-8
Iberico ham fat – 1 tbsp (or so…) or other oil of your choosing
about 1 slice of bread, cut into cubes
2-3 slices of iberico ham or parma ham