Despite living in Australia for the past five years I still struggle to reconcile my northern hemisphere holiday-meal tendencies with the balmy beachside feeling of Christmas Down Under. This salad is me coming to terms with it, and it tastes delicious.
4 thick slices sourdough
olive oil, for drizzling
3 large heirloom tomatoes
1 large zucchini, thinly sliced
3 white nectarines
Sweet basil dressing
30g picked basil leaves (about 1 bunch), plus extra to garnish
1 small garlic clove
1 tbsp honey
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1. Drizzle the bread with oil and cook on a hot charcoal grill or chargrill pan until both sides have nice grill marks and are smoky and charred. Tear the bread into pieces and place it on a platter.
2. Slice the tomatoes and place them on top and around the bread. Sprinkle the tomato with salt and allow them to sit and release some of their liquid; the bread will happily soak this up.
3. Scatter the zucchini over the tomato. Cut nectarines into wedges and toss on top of everything else on the platter. Drizzle everything with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
4. To make the dressing, place all ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth. Do this up to one hour ahead of serving so the dressing remains green (the vinegar can discolour it).
5. Drizzle the dressing over the whole salad and garnish with extra basil leaves.
Tip: You can make and dress this before your guests arrive –the bread loves to sit and soak. This sweet herby dressing can be blended up to one hour in advance.
This recipe features in our ultimate Christmas feast