Picnic in the park

By Lisa Bolton
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SERVES
8

Ingredients

  • Whipped chèvre dip
  • Pressed sandwiches: Large focaccia bread, 225 grams fresh mozzarella log, 12 thin slices Mortadella, 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • Sun-dried tomatoes, 207 milliliters, drained if packed in oil
  • 2 cups green grapes
  • 12 cherries
  • 40 very skinny asparagus spears, fewer if thicker
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 4 long stalks small celery
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto
  • Toscano cheese soaked in Syrah
  • 198 gram bag Castelvetrano olives
  • 16 currants, for garnish

Whipped chèvre dip:

  • 1 (226 gram) package chèvre
  • 1/2 cup full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon heavy (35%) cream
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Directions

  1. Make the Whipped Chèvre Dip and serve in a small bowl.
  2. Prepare the pressed sandwiches: Slice a square focaccia loaf in half lengthwise. Slice the mozzarella balls into six millimeter slices and place on the bottom half of the bread. Next add the mortadella, followed by the basil. Drain the sun-dried tomatoes and layer them onto the basil. Place the top half of the bread on top. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place the sandwich in the fridge and top with a heavy item such as a cast-iron pan or sheet pan with a heavy item on top. Press the sandwich for four hours or overnight. When ready, cut into eight equal sandwiches, wrap in parchment and secure with twine.
  3. Prepare the fruit and vegetables: Snip the grapes into small clusters. Cut off the tough parts of the asparagus spears and blanch the spears for three minutes, then remove immediately into an ice bath. Pat dry and divide into eight equal portions.
  4. Wrap each bundle securely with a piece of prosciutto. These can be made up to 24 hours in advance.
  5. Prepare the other components in the style that works best for you, then arrange everything on and around your board. Top with optional garnish.

TIP

For a lighter or simpler meal, replace the sandwiches with a plain baguette.

Whipped chèvre dip:

  1. Combine the chèvre, cream cheese, lemon juice and cream in a food processor and process until fluffy and smooth, two to three minutes.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the parsley.
  3. You can serve this immediately or keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to seven days.

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