The ASK Italian cookbook, 192pp.
edited by Carla Capalbo
Penguin Group, London, 2012
Cooking on pages 32–33
This cookbook combines favourite dishes from the ASK Italian restaurants in Britain, as well as recipes from chef Theo Randall and author Carla Capalbo. Capalbo lived in Italy for 20 years and specialises in Italian food. Randall was head chef and partner in London’s River Café and now runs his own restaurant.
The book is dedicated to the children and staff at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. I was impressed to see that almost one-third of the book’s selling price is donated to the hospital’s charity group.
Pages 32–33 have two recipes. I was keen to make the no-cook one because it’s been super hot in Australia lately.
Insalata di prosciutto e rucola (Cured ham and rocket salad)
60g (4 good handfuls) rocket (arugula) leaves
2 tablespoon Italian extra virgin olive oil
12 slices speck of prosciutto crudo
4 large firm chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced
Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese
1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
Dress the rocket leaves with the oil in a mixing bowl. Season with freshly ground black pepper and just a pinch of salt.
Arrange the ham slices on a platter or 4 individual serving plates. Cover with the rocket leaves. Top with a layer of sliced raw mushrooms.
Grate as much cheese as you like over the salad, Finish with a squeeze of lemon before serving. Serves 4.
How it played out
Poor John is up and out the door early in the morning, so I made this recipe for my breakfast (I love savoury). I quartered all the ingredients and used prosciutto, Grana Padano, button mushrooms and homegrown rocket. Given that the recipe called for lemon wedges, I also used lemon-infused olive oil—just 1 1/2 teaspoons.
This recipe surpassed all my expectations. Initially, I thought it was an odd mix of ingredients and didn’t expect it to come together so wonderfully. Frankly, I could eat this for breakfast every day. So easy to make and the balance of flavours is perfect, although I think the lemon-infused oil contributed to that.
Go on, try it. Ever-so easy to make and with fantastic flavours.
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