River Cottage Australia was a popular adaptation of the English River Cottage series. It was the first time the series had been adapted internationally. English host Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall travelled to Australia to search for an Australian host and mentor them.
Former chef Paul West was chosen to host the show. Over four seasons, he showcased local produce and farming while attempting to live in a self-sufficient manner in Central Tilba New South Wales. The series ended in 2017.
Hugh’s pear, ham and rosemary salad with pecans
2 ripe, medium-sized pears
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
pinch of dried chilli flakes (optional)
salt and pepper
3–4 handfuls of rocket (arugula)
about 30g very thinly sliced air-dried ham, such as prosciutto
50g (1/2 cup) pecans (or walnuts), roughly chopped
Peel and quarter the pears, remove their cores then slice each quarter into two or three pieces. Put the pear pieces in a bowl, add the olive oil, rosemary, chilli flakes (if using), a little squeeze of lemon juice and a twist of salt and pepper. Gently combine.
Arrange the rocket (arugula) on serving plates, or on one large platter. Place the pear pieces on top, reserving the juices in the bowl. Pull the ham intro shreds and lay these over the pear, then scatter over the pecans or walnuts. Finish with a trickle of the oil, rosemary-spiked pear juices, and serve.
Our friend, Caroline, was joining us for dinner the next time, so I recruited her to core and slice (but not peel) the pears. Why waste all that goodness? She chopped the pecans too. I added a sprinkling of chilli flakes, as well as rocket and rosemary from the garden. I also used some very thinly sliced ham that needed to be used up before we started on our current travels in West Africa.
This is a wonderful, refreshing salad with lots of crunch. I’m sure it would be equally nice with walnuts and prosciutto. Feel free to play around with the ingredients.
Very easy to make and beautiful on the plate. You can bet I’ll be making it often when we get home. In the meantime, I’d love it if you’d check out my travel blog.