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I have based this delicious, healthy and light starter on a very similar one I had at a lovely little restaurant in Nice, France, several years ago. We were sitting on a terrace overlooking the Mediterranean shaded by vines on a trellis. The sea was sparkling as if lit by millions of tiny lights and a cool breeze barely moved the leaves. We sat on small metal bistrot chairs sipping on a glass of cold rosé. Heaven! This is a lovely light starter to serve in summer when tomatoes are in season. I am thinking of all my readers in the Southern Hemisphere as they are in the midst of heatwave and I thought you might appreciate a little lighter meal. The shallots do need to marinate for a few hours so it is best to prepare them early in the day or even the previous day. The cheese crisps keep for up to 2 days in a tightly sealed container so they can be prepared in advance too.
Every time I make it, I am transported back to that terrace in Nice. Maybe you will be too.

Makes 12 servings


125 g / 4 1/2 oz parmesan, finely grated
Freshly ground black pepper
170 g / 6 oz Prosciutto Di Parma /Jambon de Bayonne
2 small shallots, finely sliced
125 ml / 1/2 cup white vinegar
Pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Small head of bibb lettuce
3 tomatoes, sliced
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and sliced into 12 strips


Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F
Place some parchment paper on your baking sheet
Grease the paper lightly
For each cheese crisp, drop about 3 tablespoons of the grated cheese onto the sheet in a circle
Sprinkle with pepper
Bake until golden brown, about 8 minutes
Remove from heat and cool on parchment
Line another baking sheet with foil
Space the prosciutto on the foil
Bake until lightly crisped, not brittle, about 7 to 8 minutes
Cool on paper towels
Place sliced shallots in a medium bowl
In a saucepan, combine vinegar, salt and sugar
Bring to a simmer over medium heat and pour over shallots
Let marinate at least 3 to 4 hours – can chill for up to 3 days
To assemble:
Layer 1 cheese crisp with I lettuce leaf, 1 tomato slice, a few shallot slices and 1 prosciutto slice, folded
Top with another cheese crisp and 1 pepper slice