Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Warm Salad of Mushroom and Parma Ham with Savoury Toasts

...Right, so onto what we did with those ingredients we picked up at the Bingley Food Festival. We had been inspired by TV (doesn't happen often) the night before - Thomasina Mier's show on Spain was decent watching for those into Iberian Cuisine, and her Iberico Ham and awesome-looking mushroom dish gave us inspiration. So, given what we had available, we went along the same lines...

This is a 'Yorkshire Tapas' sort of dish - but where Tapas conjures images of heat, lightness and simple but punchy flavours, this is an altogether earthier affair. The Mushrooms and ham combine perfectly, and the simple cheese toasties bring smoke and bite. The 'Morcilla' tapas is a Spanish classic and an excellent showcase for good-quality blood sausage. We bought our Parma Ham from the ever-excellent Salvo's Salumeria in Headingley, Leeds.

Savoury Toasts
You will need:
Two Cheeses - we used Smoked Goats' Cheese and Manchego. These are interchangeable according to taste, but I really recommend one smoked cheese in there.
Good Olive Oil
Black Pudding, sliced.
Red Onion Chutney - available in most stores, but you could make your own sticky onions if you prefer.

1. Preheat your oven to about 150.
2. Heat a griddle pan, and lightly wipe with olive oil and season the surface with black pepper.
3. Slice your cheeses into chunks, and slice your ciabatta into mini-crostini chunks.
4. In another pan, lightly fry your black pudding slices until crisped on each side.
5. Lightly toast the toasts on the griddle pan.
6. On a baking tray, arrange the lightly toasted toasts and drizzle with olive oil. Arrange cheese on some, and a teaspoon of chutney and a slice of black pudding on others.
7. Place the assembled toasts on a low heat in the oven - this is only to keep them warm and to melt the cheeses.

While they are holding, make your Salad:

You will need;
Three Garlic Cloves
Fresh Parsley, chopped/torn
Two Large Mushrooms, sliced
Some Sliced Parma Ham, shredded
Half a small bag of Spinach Leaves, washed & drained

1. In a pestle & mortar, pound the garlic and then add the chopped parsley and some cracked black pepper. Cover in Olive Oil. This will become your dressing.
2. Heat a large pan. Drop in a little olive oil, and add your sliced mushrooms.
3. When they have soaked up the oil, add the ham. Don't be tempted to turn the heat up too much; you want the ham to release a little fat, but not to overcook it and destroy the flavour.
4. Add half the dressing; the mushrooms will soak that up too.
5. Toss in the spinach, wilt, then serve onto warmed plates.
6. Finish the dish with the rest of the dressing.

Serve with the toasts!

It may seem like a lot of work but it's not - just have the oven heated and you can hold the toasts while you make the salad. The smoky cheese brings loads of depth to the toasts, and the sweet/savoury taste of the black pudding toasts complements the ham and mushroom salad in an amazing way. Don't add salt, by the way - the ham's got enough to round!

In terms of beer, I paired this with Breconshire Breweries' Red Dragon. Despite the slightly Dungeons & Dragons label, this bottle-conditioned gem is a serious beer - a complex, malt body, with a lively, unashamedly bitter aftertaste, it complements the autumnal flavours of the meal with ease.


Heather said...

Hey, we have the same stuff in our fridge! Well, we don't have any black pudding but we have brats and jadgwurst to go with the rest of the goodies.

Steve Rothwell said...

You are a star - the recipe wasn't available online so thanks for copying this donw. Hmmmm!

a swift one... said...

Is that a Leeds Brewery glass you've managed to purloin there? Any tips on how to go about obtaining one whilst you're in this generous mood?!

Leigh said...

Yes mate it is! well, sort of. It was actually the souvenir nonic pint glass you got when you got to the Leeds Beer Festival. If you look through the glass, the Camra Leeds fest logo is on the other side - but Leeds Brewery were also sponsoring, so they got in on the action! I only got one though! I'm not sure where else you would get one - i'll keep an eye out for you though...