So today I want to talk about kitchen fails, because I just totally ruined my family’s dinner. I don’t even know how it happened; I wasn’t making anything difficult. I burned the hot dogs. Seriously! Hot dogs. Who does that?! I oversalted the kale chips to the point of them being inedible. My sesame seed brittle for our dessert fused to the skillet to the point that I could not salvage it (luckily the skillet was saved). And I burned the meringue for dessert. We’re talking BLACK. That’s just the way life in the kitchen goes sometimes. Right? It’s not just me, is it??
Anyway, this Fresh Fig Salad with Crispy Prosciutto is totally NOT a fail. This one was only recently added to my repertoire, but I’ve made it three times since – like in the past two weeks! It’s that good! (And I needed to use up those figs, but it’s not like I went searching for another fig recipe). This salad could just as easily be used at a fancy dinner party as a casual weekday meal. The addition of the walnuts and shaved Parmesan to leafy greens is reminiscent of my Roasted Pear Salad, but the similarities end there.
The other ingredients are different: fresh figs, prosciutto, a vinaigrette of balsamic vinegar, honey and minced onion or shallot. The greens can be your choice – I think I used a different type each time I made the salad. Whatever came in my CSA that week. I preferred the slightly stronger, nutty flavor of arugula, but spinach or mixed greens would be fine too.
Let’s talk about the figs. This is the first time I have ever used fresh figs in a recipe. They can be pretty hard to come by since they’re only in season for a short time and don’t hold well. So when I saw them at Trader Joe’s, I scooped up a carton. On a side note, I have been living in a city with a Trader Joe’s for over a year now, and the first time I went was 2 weeks ago. I was back again today, and probably will be regularly. They have some tasty stuff!
Anywhoo, the figs. If you can’t find fresh ones (like, if it’s any season other than summer, or they just don’t ship them to where you live), use dried. You will just have to warm them up in the dressing a bit to soften them up.
The only real cooking involved in making this salad is crisping up the prosciutto in a skillet with some olive oil. Of course, you can skip this step if you’re in a rush, I wouldn’t recommend it. The crispy prosciutto adds a nice chewy texture to the salad, and brings out the flavor too. Besides, it’s pretty quick. It only takes a few minutes.
Once you’ve got all your ingredients prepped and the vinaigrette mixed up, toss the greens with the dressing, divide it among your bowls and add the prosciutto, walnuts and Parmesan. We’ve pretty much been using it as an entree salad (a half recipe split between the two of us adults), but a smaller portion would be great as a starter. Either way, it’s a great salad.
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 oz prosciutto
- 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 cup fresh figs stems removed and sliced 1/4" thick (see note), about 8
- 1 small shallot or 1/2 small onion minced
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 5 oz leafy greens (arugula spinach or mixed greens), washed and dried
- 1/2 cup walnut halves
- 2 oz parmesan cheese shaved into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
Heat 1 Tbsp of the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add prosciutto and fry until crisp, stirring often. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to cool and set aside. When cool, crumble or chop coarsely.
Whisk vinegar and honey together until smooth in a large bowl. Slowly pour the remaining olive oil in, whisking constantly. Stir in sliced figs, shallot, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Add arugula and toss until arugula is evenly covered. Divide arugula evenly among 6 bowls. Top each portion with some prosciutto, walnuts and Parmesan cheese.