Salad of Tart Greens and Prosciutto in Warm Balsamic Dressing

This salad is more recent than many of the famous dishes of Italy that reach back Renaissance and royal courts. It still brings together many of the magnificent flavors special to the north of Italy. Aged Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and prosciutto ham from Parma, and sweet balsamic vinegar from Modena are showcased on a bed of mixed greens and pickled onions topped with a warm balsamic dressing.

Salad of Tart Greens with Prosciutto and Warm Balsamic Dressing

This salad makes for a great antipasto before a rich meal or equally as well for a light lunch or dinner with crusty bread. Keep in mind, the better the quality of the parmesan, prosciutto, and balsamic vinegar, the more authentic the flavors will be to the region. This recipe helps to minimize the expense of a well-aged balsamic by using a high quality commercial balsamic enhanced by a touch of brown sugar.
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Course: Antipasto, Lunch, Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: Italian, Northern Italy
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Marinating onions: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8
Author: My Hungry Traveler

Equipment

  • Large salad bowl and tongs
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Small skillet
  • Slotted spoon

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 medium Red onion, sliced thin
  • ½ cup Red wine vinegar
  • 1 small Head each of radicchio, red-leaf lettuce, curly endive (or store-bought pre-mixed bitter greens)
  • ½ cup Pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 3 stalks Scallion, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 3 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved into thin curls with a vegetable curler
  • 3 oz Thinly sliced Prosciutto di Parma, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1 cup Fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup Fresh parsley leaves

Balsamic Dressing

  • 8 cloves Garlic, chopped roughly
  • cup Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 tbsp Balsamic vinegar (commercial)
  • 3 tbsp Red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dark brown sugar
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

Assemble Salad

  • Marinate the onion in red wine vinegar for 30 minutes. Wash and dry lettuces, discard any bruised leaves, and tear into bite-size pieces. In a large salad bowl, toss the lettuce, basil, and parsley together with ¾ of the pine nuts and scallion as well as half the cheese and prosciutto.

Make Dressing

  • In a small skillet over very low heat, slowly cook the garlic in olive oil until barely colored, about 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Turn heat to medium high and add vinegars to the oil in the pan. Cook for 20 seconds and mix in brown sugar. Let the mixture bubble for another minute than turn off the heat. Stir in reserved garlic and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Serve

  • Top greens with drained marinated onion and scatter the remaining scallion, pine nuts, cheese and prosciutto over that. Warm up the dressing, stirring vigorously, and spoon over salad. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 335kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 255mg | Potassium: 242mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 930IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 159mg | Iron: 2mg