Friday, August 5, 2016

Prosciutto di Parma Salad


My husband loves to eat a salad everyday, and I love to eat Prosciutto di Parma almost as often. This thin, silky dry cured ham from Parma, Italy has been a favorite snack of mine since I discovered it. I was waiting tables in an Italian restaurant in Little Rock during my college years when I had my first taste. I made friends with a sous chef behind the line, and soon I was enjoying leftover scraps of prosciutto on just about every shift. Thank goodness I can buy it at my local New Seasons here.


I came up with this recipe by combining some of my favorite ingredients. The first time I had a salad with mint and cilantro in it, I was eating at a place in Little Rock called Loca Luna. I thought that their Thai beef salad bursted with fresh herbaceous flavor. 

Then we had our first Williams Sonoma open in town. They used to carry a lemon olive oil that I loved. The first time I bought it, I wanted to combine it with some prosciutto. In the past I was buying fresh cut prosciutto from Boulevard Bread Company, and it was a struggle to make it out of the parking lot without digging in immediately. There were several days I was driving down Cantrell or Kavanaugh eating the stuff out of the bag. I decided I better try to eat it in a more civilized manner.

So I came up with this salad, and it was a big hit with family and friends. The olive oil and white balsamic ingredients for the dressing can be interchangeable. If I used Sicilian lemon white balsamic vinegar, I use regular extra virgin olive oil. If I use a lemon extra virgin olive oil, I use plain white balsamic vinegar. I have about 9 different oils and vinegars in my pantry. I buy mine from Benessere in downtown Portland. I love the location near Director Park.

Parmigiano Reggiano is perfect in this salad because it is also found in Parma, and I think I read that the pigs that make the Prosciutto di Parma are fed the whey of the cheese. It is also known as the best cheese in the world.


Ingredients:
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced Prosciutto di Parma
  • Organic mixed greens
  • Fresh mint leaves, torn into small pieces
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Thinly sliced white onion
  • Coarsely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tbsp Sicilian lemon white balsamic vinegar
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Directions:
  1. Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar, add salt and pepper to taste, and shake to combine.
  2. Mix the rest of the ingredients, and add the dressing.
This will serve 2- 4 people, depending on if you eat it as a side salad or as an entree.

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