Nectarine & rocket salad with cheat’s caramelised balsamic

Rocket, stone fruit, parmesan – it’s such a classic combination, particularly when it’s paired with a drizzle of syrupy sweet dark vinegar. But shelling out a pretty penny for aged or caramelised balsamic can feel like money down the drain, considering how quickly it gets used up. This cheat’s method, which speeds up the process with a glug of maple syrup, is a perfect way to use up what you’ve already got in the pantry. Warning: this might sting your eyes, but the resulting elixir is worth it.


  • 3-4 firm nectarines (preferably freestone) thinly sliced
  • 120 g rocket leaves
  • 1 small red shallot thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup roasted hazelnuts chopped
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • Olive oil
  • Salt flakes and cracked black pepper
  • Shaved parmesan to serve


  • Reduce balsamic and maple syrup together in a small pot on high heat. Pour into a jar (for storing any excess) and allow to cool slightly.
  • Combine the rest of the salad ingredients in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, then arrange parmesan on top, and drizzle with caramelised balsamic.
  • Serve without saying a word about where the balsamic came from – your guests will think you’ve spent a bomb.


If you’re taking this to a party, bring the elements in separate containers and toss together when you get there. If you’re pressed for time, combine everything except the caramelised balsamic, cheese and olive oil.