At the risk of sounding like a broken record, “spring is finally here” in Pittsburgh. We have said this a few times before, but then had several days of snow and temperatures in the 30′s. You’d think we’d be wise to that happening each and every year here, but alas we get hopeful after 5 long months of gray skies and frozen landscapes. This year, it may have even fooled some of the plants too, as the Daffodils are blooming with their flowers drooping down on the ground.
However, being almost two weeks into April, it may be safe to say that we’ve seen the last of snow around these parts. Much like how our bodies come out of hibernation during this time of year, so do our taste buds. This light, flavorful and colorful salad is the result of us wanting to awaken our taste buds with some new dishes. For this one, we took some Italian inspiration and infused it with a take on the classic Waldorf salad. Did you just cock your head in confusion? Lets back up and I’ll try to break it down.
Here is my thought process on this salad. I love prosciutto, and I’ll make any excuses I need to use it in a dish. Proscuitto goes well with fruit – most famously cantaloupe, in the Italian favorite prosciutto e melone. The salty and sweet combination is a real treat. I (Bill) also loved, once upon a pre-paleo time, wood fired pizzas with prosciutto and arugula on top. Thus, the three root ingredients were borne for this dish: prosciutto, arugula, and fruit. While you could certainly use cantaloupe, we had some ripe grapefruit that was hand picked from Arizona and given to us as a gift that needed to be used. From those base ingredients, I thought about the Waldorf salads my family has each year at Christmas dinner. They typically have some sort of fruit in them (apple, orange) and walnuts.
Just days prior to making this salad, we received a huge parcel of goodies from our friends at US Wellness Meats
to try out. Amongst the massive pile of meat were some other great treats, one of which was a bag of “Better Than Roasted” Walnuts
from Blue Mountain Organics. Unlike roasted walnuts, these puppies are soaked and then dried at 108 degrees (or less). This unique process protects the enzymes and nutrients in the nuts – not to mention it gives them one hell of a satisfying crunch. Walnuts seemed like a great choice for the salad. To bring all these flavorful ingredients together, we used some late harvest extra virgin olive oil from Chaffin Family Orchards
, also given to us by the kind and generous folks at USWM. If you’re used to factory produced olive oil, then this stuff will blow you away with its freshness. We wanted to keep this as a light refreshing spring salad, and with the natural acidity of the grapefruit, we thought a light drizzle of the amazing olive oil would be the perfect finishing touch to the salad. We then topped it off with a sprinkle of sea salt and cracked black pepper.
- 4 cups arugula, loosely packed
- 4 slices of prosciutto, cut into strips
- 1 medium grapefruit, cut into bite sized pieces (or 1/4 cantaloupe)
- 1 cup raw walnuts, chopped
- Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- Sea Salt and Cracked pepper to taste
- Peel skin from grapefruit. If you’re feeling fancy, remove the outer membrane from the wedges. Cut into bite sized pieces.
- Chop 1 cup of raw walnuts, set aside.
- Cut prosciutto into smaller ribbons (about 1″ wide)
- Plate 2 cups of arugula (a generous handful).
- Top arugula with prosciutto, grapefruit, and walnuts.
- Drizzle olive oil over salad, and sprinkle sea salt and crack black pepper if desired.
This light and flavorful salad is a nice accompaniment to lunch on a warm spring afternoon. It is very easy and quick to toss together, and refreshing for anyone’s palate that is weary from heavy winter dishes.
As always, enjoy.