© David Loftus
Gorgeous rosemary prune skewers
The French have such a deep respect for wild food, and these beautiful skewers are my tribute to their wonderful local ingredients. They’re quite rustic, and exciting. As you can see, I made these using thick woody rosemary sprigs, the sort you’ll see in farmers’ markets all over the country or find growing wild. Using rosemary as a skewer is great, because it shares its flavour with the other ingredients. If you can’t get woody sprigs, just soak some regular wooden skewers or even cocktail sticks in water and use those instead. If you’re having a party, make up a few batches of these and have them standing by ready to cook. They’re ridiculously easy to prepare and everyone will love them.
Pick most of the leaves off the rosemary sprigs but leave the ones at the top intact. Cut the bottom of each sprig into a sharp point. Cut the bread into 4cm cubes – you’ll need 12 in total. Pick up a prune and poke your finger into the hole where the stone used to be, to make the cavity slightly bigger. Spoon and push some soft goat’s cheese into the cavity, then press a walnut half into the cheese. Wrap half a rasher of bacon around the prune and secure by skewering it on to a rosemary sprig. Thread a bay leaf on next, then a cube of bread and another stuffed prune. Continue doing this until you’ve used up all your ingredients and have 3 prunes on each skewer. Lay the skewers in a tray.
When you’re ready to cook them, preheat your griddle pan, barbecue, grill or even oven so it’s screaming hot. Drizzle olive oil over the tray of skewers, scatter over a good pinch of salt and pepper, and turn each skewer over in the tray until each one is well coated. However you're going to cook them, just make sure you look after them and turn them every minute or so for around 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden, crisp and delightful all over.
Meanwhile, gently heat the quince jelly or apricot jam in a small pan with a splash of water until it’s loose enough to paint on to your skewers. Use a pastry brush or a bunch of thyme to lightly paint the warmed jelly all over the skewers. Cook for another minute or so, turning every few seconds so they get sticky and caramelized, then use tongs to move them to a platter. Drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil and serve straight away.
• from Jamie does...
serves: / makes 4 skewers
• 4 long woody sprigs of fresh rosemary
• ½ a loaf of rustic white bread, crusts removed
• 12 ready-to-eat prunes
• 50g soft goat’s cheese
• 12 shelled walnut halves
• 6 rashers of smoked, streaky bacon, the best quality you can afford, halved lengthways
• a small bunch of fresh bay, leaves picked
• olive oil
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons quince jelly or apricot jam
• a bunch of fresh thyme
• extra virgin olive oil