Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Lunch for lovers

Parma ham, figs and cream cheese, a romantic lunch for two
Now is the time of year in Italy when  cantaloupe melons are absolutely delicious. The greengrocer will ask you when you want to eat it , and deftly select a suitable one depending on your answer .Parma ham and melon is definitely in the top ten of our favourite summer lunches. Today though just to ring the changes I bought some fresh green figs to go with our Parma ham. Figs are really at their best towards the end of the summer when they have had a chance to absorb all the summer sunshine. There is something sensual and also a bit biblical about figs. Maybe because Adam and Eve wore fig leaves, maybe because fig trees seem exotic and the fruit has to be handled with care .Today the green  figs I bought weren't all that juicy and sweet but they were very easy to peel . Then you cut a cross on the top and gently open them up into the shape of a flower . I put a spoonful of ricotta in the centre and arranged them on top of the Parma ham. You can substitute the Parma ham with Bresaola and the ricotta with mascarpone . As a dessert the figs and cream cheese are delicious sprinkled with sugar and rum.
The first fruits of the season are called primizie  in Italian . For us today the figs and cherries were both primizie. When my Italian sister-in-law eats her first cherries of the season she always holds them firmly in her hand and then passes her arm over her head to pop them in her mouth and bring luck .

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