Peaches And Cream, Herbed Salad With Parma Ham And A Raspberry Vinaigrette

By Michael Harris-Arzon, The Simplistic Professional

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Clean, fresh flavors are what makes a great salad.  One of the tricks I have learned over the years is to mix your types of greens.  By combining a few different types of leafage, you are able to build a depth of flavor that you just can’t get from using a single type of lettuce or greenery.  Another trick I have learned to do is, to use fresh herbs as part of the salad itself.  Basil, Parsley, Thyme and Chives are great additions to your salad.  

Keep the leaves whole and toss with your Baby Spinach/Arugula/Mustard Greens instead of chopping them up and adding to your dressing.  By keeping them intact and of a larger size, they tend to impart a new level of freshness that dissipates when you use herbs to infuse dressings.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Bag Arugula Lettuce
  • 1/2 Bag Baby Spinach
  • 2 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves, Whole
  • 1 Lb. Prosciutto de Parma Ham, Sliced Thin
  • Goat Cheese
  • 3-4 White Peaches, Sliced Into 1/2″ Thick Slices
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Raspberries, Muddled
  • 1 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Pinch of Cracked Assorted Peppercorns

Steps

  1. In a small mixing bowl, add your fresh raspberries.  Using a fork, smash your raspberries into small chunks.  Be careful that you don’t totally mash the berries into pulp.  Carefully drain the excess juice from the berries, leaving small chunks of flesh.  Cooking Tip:  The juice will keep in the refrigerator for about a week or you can freeze the juice in an ice tray.  Once frozen, place your cubes of juice in a ziplock bag and they will keep for about 6 months for use in future recipes.  Simply defrost them in the microwave when you are ready to use.
  2. To a container with well sealing lid, add your olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pinch of salt, pinch of cracked peppercorns and your raspberries.  Make sure the lid is on tight, shake your dressing vigorously for about 10 seconds until everything is well combined and the dressing has emulsified.
  3. To a large mixing or salad bowl, add your arugula and baby spinach leaves.  Take your fresh basil and tear the leaves into 2-3 pieces and add to your bowl of greens.  Toss gently until mixed. Drizzle a small amount of your raspberry vinaigrette over the greens and toss to coat.
  4. When plating your salad for friends and family, I suggest a very large serving platter.  Spread our the tossed greens across the entire platter.  Spread your sliced, white peaches out around the salad.  Next, take pieces of the super thin parma ham and kind of pinch each piece of meat into small, cushions of meat.  Place around the salad, between slices of peach.  Then, drop small mounts of goats cheese around the salad.  Again, between the slices of peach is best.
  5. Serve this beautiful salad along side your favorite pork or chicken dish.  The bright flavors are sure to surprise your guests…in the most pleasant way possible.
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