Saturday, February 20

Philip vs the Chefs 1: Nigel

In which I try to replicate some glorious dishes from famous kitchen folk.

Up first, a recipe from Nigel Slater, from The Kitchen Diaries. The book itself is a gorgeous object, especially the endpapers. Go get yourself a copy if you don’t have one already. This recipe is a bit perverse, because it combines ingredients that I’d never considered putting together. I’d had prosciutto e melone, but before reading this I would never have mixed melon and mozzarella, nor lemon juice and mozzarella, nor olive oil and melon. Put it all together, though, and it’s extraordinary.

His version:

My version:

side by side (why not? I took the picture, but yes, it is a bit redundant):

It was a hot summer day when I made this and I was sweating by the time I finished slicing up the melon and tearing up the mozzarella. I was so excited I had to stop and get my camera and when I took the first bite I couldn’t believe how fantastically good it was. I totally burst it against my palate fine.

If you want to do it yourself, get a ripe (verging on the overripe) cantaloup; some prosciutto crudo; a ball of mozzarella (di bufala, if possible); juice from an unwaxed, handpicked, organically grown lemon complete with stem and leaves; olive oil that has been pressed between the toes of a virgin, extracted only on the first and third Thursdays of alternate months except during a new moon, vernal equinox, or postal strike; Lake Retba salt; and a pinch o’ parsley. Mix it all together and serve on a bed of wild greens.

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