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American, Southern
Arugula Salad with Country Ham, Pears, and Honey Vinaigrette

Photo by: Joseph De Leo
Comments: 0
 

Recipe

Make sure you remove not only the inedible rind but also any excess fat from the cooked country ham. The profound taste of that fat is just too strong, a poor match for the pears.

Yield: Makes enough for 2 for dinner, or up to 6 for a very light first course

Ingredients

  • ½ cup walnut pieces
  • 2/3 pound baby arugula leaves (about 4 cups)
  • 6 ounces cooked country ham, rind removed and discarded, the meat thinly sliced and cut into strips
  • 1 large ripe Bartlett pear, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons toasted walnut oil (see Notes)

Directions

1. Sprinkle the walnuts around a dry skillet set over medium-low heat, Leave them alone a couple minutes, then stir well and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, just until splotchy brown and fragrant. Pour them out onto a cutting board, cool for a few minutes, then chop into little bits.

2. Mix the arugula, ham, and pear pieces in a large bowl.

3. Whisk the lemon juice, vinegar, honey, and mustard in a small bowl, then whisk in the oil in a slow, steady stream until you’ve got a creamy, somewhat thick dressing.

4. Pour the dressing over the arugula mixture, then sprinkle the toasted walnut pieces on top.

Notes

Nut oils come in two varieties: toasted and untoasted. The toasted versions are one of a pantry’s best-kept secrets. They add a rich, roasted flavor to salads, meats, and even vegetables, drizzled on while still hot. They are quite delicate, so use them as you would toasted sesame oil-at most just a few moments over the heat, lest they volatilize and lose all their aromatic richness. Toasted nut oils can go rancid quite quickly. Always smell before using; they can be stored in the refrigerator for several months.

Testers’ Notes

Arugula can get awfully stemmy, particularly late in the fall. If you notice too many fibrous stems, cut them off-but make sure you use 4 cups packed leaves, even with the stems gone. And remember this: the smaller the arugula leaf, the less astringent the taste.

You can make the dressing up to 4 hours in advance. Store it, covered, at room temperature, and whisk it again before using.


© 2010 Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough
 

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

This recipe serves 6.

222kcal (11%)
97mg (10%)
10mg (17%)
60mcg RAE (2%)
425mg
50mg
11g
7g
3g
11g
20mg (7%)
783mg (33%)
2g (10%)
16g (25%)
1mg (8%)
 

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