Red-Leaf, Fig, and Serrano Ham Salad

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This salad takes mere minutes to make, and yet is so enduringly beautiful. I don’t overstate the case; there is something positively painterly about the delicate heaping of dark red leaves, red-bellied figs, and deep pink ham. I love the sharpness of Manchego, dropped in feathery shavings all amongst this, but don’t panic if the cheese eludes you (though my supermarket does stock it). Just use some Parmesan or pecorino instead.




Total Timeunder 30 minutes

OccasionCooking for a date, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursecold appetizer, side dish, vegetable

Mealdinner, lunch


Taste and Texturelight, salty, sweet

Type of Dishfirst course salad, salad


  • 1 head radicchio or radicchio rosso
  • 8 cups baby ruby chard or a couple of bags of salad with red-toned tender leaves
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 fresh figs, quartered
  • 10 oz Serrano ham slices, cut very thinly
  • 2 oz Manchego cheese, shaved into slices


Tear the head of radicchio into manageable pieces, and toss together with the baby salad leaves.

Whisk together the vinegar, oil, and salt in a small bowl and then dress the leaves.

Arrange the figs and ham as artistically as you can muster over the salad and then, with a potato peeler, shave the cheese over, letting it fall lightly where it will.



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Delicious salad. Couldn't find fresh figs in New England in December, bought a container of Turkish Figs and they were fine in the salad. Also hard to find Serrano ham, did get it but prepackaged. Next time I'd just buy Parma Prociutto, tasted the same. Nice salad, all my dinner party guests enjoyed it.

Two years ago I visited Spain with my husband and had some amazing salads with iberico ham. Now that I found a place to buy jamon iberico de bellota online, I always have some in the fridge and add it to my greens. The Spanish ham makes boring salads a deli, particularly for quick lunches to take to the office. I recommend the ham from the market place for iberico ham.


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