Everyone needs their friends from time to time, that's why they're friends, and the realm of cookery is one in which our friends' help can be invaluable. One of the occasional problems in being an avid cook who takes pride in being original is that there are days where the inspiration just isn't clicking. We've all had days where we sit there contemplating dinner or whatever meal is coming up where we just can't decide what we want to make or order. Luckily, there are friends who come along and help us figure this sort of thing out!
In this case, it was my friend/colleague Jess who heard me lamenting as to wanting something like yet tasty. She began to describe a delicious sounding salad made with prosciutto and arugula and pine nuts and I very much wanted to give it a shot.
So I did!
Well, not quite exactly as she had described the recipe. I got home and, as with most things told to me, I completely forgot the method she'd told me for making the salad. Luckily I remembered the words 'arugula', 'prosciutto' and 'salad' and it was off too google I went!
I got quite a few results (I guess this is a fairly popular salad), but I noticed five or six entries down the page a recipe for Asparagus, Prosciutto and Arugula Salad from the Marcus Samuelsson Web site (it wasn't Mr. Samuelsson's recipe though, that credit goes to Lindsay Hunt, whomever she may be...) and thinking that asparagus was the way to go, I went with it. Here's the recipe (with tweaks I made in parantheses):
Asparagus, Prosciutto, and Arugula Salad Recipe
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or grapeseed oil (or olive oil, which is what I used)
- 2 slices thickly cut prosciutto, about ⅛-inch thick, cut into thin strips (I used cubed)
- 8 stalks asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2-3 cups arugula
- 1 lemon, zested and 1 tablespoon juice
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Optional: 1 tsp balsamic vinegar (why not?)
- Optional: 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts (this was Jess' suggestion - unfortunately, the pine nuts I had were way past their shelf life so I used toasted-then-crushed pecans instead - pine nuts would be better though)
- Optional: grated parmesan cheese to taste (OK, the 'healthy' quotient of this salad is fading in direct proportion to its tastiness increase...)
1. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and heat until shimmering. Add the prosciutto strips and cook about 2 minutes on each side, until caramelized and dark in color. Remove to a clean towel and set aside.
2. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and heat through. Add the asparagus and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.
3. Place the arugula in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the arugula between two bowls, then top with the asparagus, prosciutto and nuts.
|A DAMN good salad!|
And with that, we have a great example of why friends are good to have as culinary inspiration.
I also need to give a shout-out to my best amigo Einoch for introducing me to the idea of sausage in chili. Well done, sir!