This salad from America's Test Kitchen is not a simple leafy green Italian salad. This recipe involves making a dressing, uses only one type of green (arugula) and includes a few different non-leafy ingredients.
The result is a dish with flavors and textures that play off each other to a scintillating effect, which is very much in keeping with the Italian approach to salads and vegetables.
The complexity of the salad — in terms of both execution and flavor — makes it slightly better suited as a first course than it does a post-main course offering, but feel free to serve it when you see fit.
Arugula Salad with Figs, Prosciutto, Walnuts and Parmesan
Yields 6 servings
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ cup dried figs
1 small shallot
Ground black pepper
8 ounces arugula, stemmed (if needed) and lightly packed (about 8 cups)
½ cup toasted chopped walnuts
2 ounces Parmesan cheese
1. Cut 2 ounces prosciutto into 1/4-inch-wide ribbons.
2. Remove stems from 1/2 cup dried figs and chop fruit into 1/4-inch pieces.
3. Very finely mince 1 small shallot to yield 1 tablespoon.
4. Remove stems from 5 ounces (8 cups) arugula. (If using arugula bunches, wash and dry arugula.)
5. Chop enough walnuts to yield 1/2 cup.
6. Shave 2 ounces Parmesan into thin strips with vegetable peeler.
7. Toast nuts in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Set nuts aside in bowl.
8. Wipe out empty pan with paper towel.
9. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in empty pan over medium heat.
10. Add prosciutto and fry until crisp, stirring frequently, 5 to 7 minutes.
11. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towel–lined plate and set aside to cool.
12. Whisk 1 tablespoon honey and 3 tablespoons vinegar in medium microwave-safe bowl.
13. Stir in figs.
14. Cover with plastic wrap, cut several steam vents in plastic and microwave on high until figs are plump, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
15. Whisk in remaining 3 tablespoons oil, shallot, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
16. Let cool to room temperature.
17. Toss arugula and dressing in large bowl. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
18. Divide salad among individual plates.
19. Top each with portion of prosciutto, walnuts and Parmesan. Serve immediately.
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