There are some big flavours in this summer dish, but they harmonise together whilst also providing satisfying, contrasting textures. Cecina is a Spanish cured meat made from air-dried beef that has a subtle smoky flavour and is a happy partner to stone fruits. If the nectarines are very ripe could probably use them without grilling.
4 ripe nectarines, at room temperature (you can also use peaches)
Sea salt and black pepper to season
75g sliced cecina
3 tarragon stalks, leaves picked (put the stalks in any vinegar to infuse)
15 roasted and salted almonds, lightly chopped to break into smaller pieces
1 tbsp balsamic pearls
A BBQ is an ideal way to grill the nectarines, but isn’t really practical if you are only going to use it for this dish alone (it would make an ideal start to a BBQ though). Using a griddle pan works well. Put one on a medium to high heat and allow to heat up.
Using a paring knife, cut all the way around the nectarine, following the seam, then gently twist the two sides till it opens. Now take the half that has the stone it and slice it, lengthwise, down the middle. Pull these two pieces delicately apart, then cut the stone out. Do this for all the nectarines and then put in a bowl and sprinkle with two pinches of sea salt. Drizzle a very small amount of the olive oil on and give it all a decent mix. Carefully place the pieces on the griddle, leaving some space between them, so that they are easy to turn over later. Leave them in place for 2-3 minutes – you want to get strong, defined bar marks on the fruit. Turn the pieces over to grill on the other side for another 2-3 minutes and then, using a fish slice, take off the pan and put back into the bowl you used before. If there are more pieces to grill, repeat the process, allowing the pan a few minutes to regain its heat.
Season the warm nectarines with a few turns of cracked black pepper and after tasting a piece, perhaps a little more salt, then add the Verdemanda. Toss to coat well and divide onto plates then drape the cecina over, followed by the almonds and tarragon. Using a spoon, place the balsamic pearls on top of all the other ingredients in different places.