Saturdays are normally spent in the office. Not this one. This time, we drove to South Bend, IN. A place I've never been. My friend, Anne, had arranged to have me as a speaker at a conference - in South Bend. We had two choices. One, drive up and back the same day - a total of six hours of driving. Or, two, drive up and spend the night. Now, there were plenty of things to do in South Bend. But, there were also plenty of things to do in Indy. Mostly involving taking care of clients. And, my clients come first. So, we drove up and back. It's a miserable drive. You get stopped at EVERY light in Kokomo. My friend Jeb is the economic development director up there and he drives down here to Indy all the time. He's obviously a LOT more patient than I am because I'd lose my mind if I had to make that drive very often.
Now, the good news is that I had a blast up in South Bend. We had 52 women registered for the Social Security seminar. I've never had so much fun teaching this. Talk about laughing. And great questions. These ladies took the cake. Then, it was time to head south. But, on the way we needed to see two things. One was the Notre Dame campus and the other was the world's largest egg. Notre Dame was gorgeous. We saw the gold dome
and Touchdown Jesus
and lots of other stuff. Then we were off to Mentone and the egg. I called Mom on the way to make sure she'd made it through the church rummage sale ok. Told her where we were headed. You're right. She thought we were nuts. Ok, fine. We are. But we have fun being nuts. She said she'd not walk around the corner to see the egg. We drove about 20 miles out of our way. And, laughed the whole way. See, just talking about the world's largest egg is funny. That's what I love about Connie - he's curious.
Needless to say, we didn't get home quite in time for Annie to get her dinner on time. Nor did she get her lamb snack on time. We were a few minutes ahead of the 8:30 scooby snack. Whew! On the way home we debated. Stop for dinner? Nope, takes too long since Annie's got to go out. Get carryout? Nothing sounded good. We were both focused on a recipe I'd read in Cooks Illustrated. A salad recipe. There was leftover chicken stirfry on brown rice if we wanted it. But, we both wanted this salad. Figs, prosciutto, parmesan. On bitter greens. And, have we ever got the bitter greens in our garden. Fine then. It was decided. Home to fix THAT salad.
What did we think? I could make this once a week and we'd not get tired of it. The flavors played together perfectly. It took just two strips of parmesan to pull it all together. We had some leftover blackberries so I added them. They fit in just fine. One other change was to toss the minced shallot into the skillet with the prosciutto instead of adding it raw. The whole premise of the article was that by incorporating the right types of ingredients into a salad with bitter greens, you can neutralize the bitterness. I'm here to tell you it works! There were two more salad recipes with the article and we'll undoubtedly try both since this one was such a homerun.
Bitter Greens Salad with Figs and Prosciutto
4 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 1/2" wide ribbons
1 T raspberry jam (I used black raspberry
3 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 c dried figs, stems removed
1 small shalot, finely minced
8 c arugula or other bitter greens (5 oz) (I used sorrel and red giant mustard greens)
1/2 c walnuts, toasted and chopped
Chop the prosciutto and mince the shallot. Saute both in a small amount of olive oil. You want the prosciutto to be a smidgen crispy but not totally.
Toast the walnuts.
Whisk together the blackberry jam and the balsamic vinegar. Add the figs, cover the bowl with plastic wrap (cut a couple of holes to vent) and microwave them for 30 seconds to one minute until they plump.
Remove the figs from the vinegar, cool them and chop them into 1/4" pieces.
Whisk the other three tablespoons of olive oil into the vinegar/jam mixture.
Now, it's time to put the salad together. I decided to use a smaller amount of greens that the 8 cups called for in the recipe primarily because it's still pretty early in the growing season and our greens aren't super huge yet.
Here's what the goodies look like close up:
Last, but not least, shave a couple of ribbons of parmesan over the top.
adapted from Cooks Illustrated