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Crispy Parma ham w avocado and hot tomato dressing

A really nice dish to serve as a starter in late summer when the tomatoes are at their best.

Wine Suggestion: We love serving slightly-chilled, young, light reds with salads like this. Given the Parma ham we chose the Colterenzio Pinot Nero from the Alto Adige, but it could have easily been a Joven Tempranillo, Beaujolais or Cheverny rouge. Young, lighter bodied, fruity and with a fresh acidity; perfect.

Crispy Parma Ham with Avocado & Hot Tomato Dressing – serves 4

  • 5 tbsp olive oil, plus a bit extra
  • 85g Parma ham, roughly torn
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, quartered, seeded and cut into thin slivers
  • 15g basil, roughly chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 100-120g mixed salad leaves
  • 1 large ripe avocado, peeled and sliced

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Add half the Parma ham pieces, add some freshly ground black pepper and fry for one minute per side until crisp. Transfer to a plate and keep warm while you repeat with the rest of the ham.

Wipe any excess fat out of the pan and return to a low heat. Heat 4 tbsp of olive oil, then add the tomatoes, basil and lemon juice. Season with freshly ground black pepper and gently heat through for about 30 seconds.

Arrange the salad leaves on 4 plates. Top with the avocado slices, then pile on the crispy ham and spoon over the hot dressing. Serve immediately with a little extra salt if needed and an extra drizzle of olive oil.

(Original recipe by Lesley Waters in BBC Good Food Magazine, September 2001)

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