About twenty years ago, I used to go to the market in town and every other month or so, as a special treat, I’d buy five peaches, one each for me and the children and one to take home for Barney. Me and Eldest and Middle one would wander the streets, munching, dribbling gorgeous juice and feeling briefly blessed by gifts from, well, me I suppose. The sun always shone (I suppose this means that I only bought them when it was shining). Littlest would be given pieces of hers and seemed to feel fairly content even if she did tend to hurl some of them over the side of her pushchair and practice hair washing and face wiping with other bits.
Generally, I try not to say ‘things were better in those days’ but I must say, peaches certainly were better. Gettting hold of a ripe peach theses days is a task beyond me. Most of the ones you can buy are as hard as nails and you’re lucky if they will ripen evenly before going rotten.
And I keep buying things from Waitrose’s ‘perfectly ripe’ selection, only to find, as in the case of last weeks avocados, that they’re perfectly unripe. Mangos are the exception. So when I’m making Jamie Oliver’s gorgeous peach, mozarella and mint salad with prosciutto, I use mango instead.
And it’s so simple! You peel a mango and put chunks of it on a plate with torn up bits of Mozarella and season that with salt and pepper then arrange some pieces of prosciutto on top. That can wait a while if necessary and just before serving, you tear up some salad and mint leaves, dress them with olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper and sprinkle/spread them on top of the plate of mozarella etc. Jamie also recommends a little crushed dried chilli on the mozarella but I prefer not to add that. The quantities really are up to you – I find that one mango, one ball of mozarella and three or four slices of prosciutto work well and I end to add as much leaf as I feel like. This makes a lovely refreshing starter, or a light lunch with the addition of some crusty bread or ciabatta.
And, if ripe peached are available I bet it’s gorgeous with them instead – he doesn’t peel them but just quarters them. I guess you’d want two or three to a mozarella ball?