Melon, Fig, Fennel and Jambon de Bayonne Salad
Jambon de Bayonne is a delicious cured ham named for the port city of Bayonne in southern France. Substiture Prociutto di Parma, or you can order it online here!
Wine suggestion: Bordeaux Sauvignon/Semillon Blend
1/2 cup Sauternes
3 tablespoons fennel oil (see below)
2 large bunches frisee
1 bulb fennel, halved from top to bottom and paper thin slices
1/4 ripe, sweet melon, Honeydew, Crenshaw, Casaba, Cantelope, peeled and cut into thin slices
2 cups small green and red grapes, halved
6 fresh, ripe figs, halved
6 slices jambon de Bayonne
Place the Sauternes in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Watching carefully, reduce until 1 ½ tablespoons remain. Let cool and add the fennel oil. Whisk together and season with salt.
Place the frisee and fennel in a bowl.
For each individual serving plate, place a few slices of the melon on the bottom of each plate. Distribute the grapes on the melon. Drizzle 1/3 of the dressing onto the fruit. Toss the remaining dressing with the fennel and frisee. Top the melon and grapes with the frisee and fennel. Top with the figs. Curl a slice of jambon de Bayonne onto the top and serve.
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 tablespoons fennel seeds
Heat a dry frying pan over medium heat. Add the fennel seeds and shake the pan constantly for 15 to 30 seconds. Do not allow them to turn brown. Grind the fennel seeds in a coffee or spice grinder or a mortar and pestle until coarsely ground.
Place the olive oil and fennel seeds in a jar and shake. Let sit for 2 hours. Strain before using.