- Course: Appetizer, Main Course
- Skill Level: Easy
- Cost: Moderate
- Favorited: 1 Time
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.
- 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)
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.
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.
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
This recipe serves 6.