Summer in Australia – the time to make delicious, healthy salads! And no one does it better than Neil Perry, one Australia’s most creative and innovative chefs. His latest recipe book is brimming with scrumptious dishes. Everything I Love to Cook (Murdoch Books) is a must add for your kitchen library and this prawn, tomato, nectarine and hazelnut salad is a cracking example of the irresistible offerings in it.
Ripe tomatoes and nectarines make a killer combination in summer: at the peak of their season, both are deliciously sweet, especially when matched with the natural sweetness of prawns. The sharpness of lime offsets all the sweetness, and the mellow richness of crushed hazelnuts and hazelnut oil is pretty hard to beat, though you can of course just use olive oil. The cos and witlof contribute freshness and crunch.
16 large cooked prawns, peeled and deveined
2 heads of witlof (chicory) – red, white or a combination – leaves separated, washed and dried
2 heads of baby cos lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried
2 tablespoons hazelnut oil
Juice of 2 limes
2 yellow-fleshed nectarines
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, cored
½ cup (75 g) hazelnuts, roughly chopped
Small handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely shredded
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Place the prawns in a large bowl. Roughly tear the witlof and baby cos leaves and add to the bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Drizzle with the hazelnut oil and lime juice, adding a little at a time and tasting as you go to achieve the right balance.
Cut the cheeks off the nectarines and thinly slice each cheek. Cut the tomatoes into wedges.
Arrange the nectarines and tomatoes on four plates. Divide the salad leaves and prawns between the plates, placing them gently around the fruit. Sprinkle with the hazelnuts and parsley and serve.
Any crustacean would work well here – crab, lobster or bug meat would be great.
Try this with fragrant white peaches or nectarines. When stone fruit is in season, it can be hard to choose!
Images and text from Everything I Love to Cook by Neil Perry, photography by Petrina Tinslay. Murdoch Books RRP $59.99.