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Rustic Italian Salad Makes an Impressive Lunch

During the holidays, it seems I just go from one rich, multi-course family meal to another, so the day after Thanksgiving, I wanted a light but satisfying lunch that would impress even the harshest of family critics.

This salad was just the thing. The pears, grapes and dried cherries added a natural sweetness to the salad that contrasted well with the aged balsamic vinegar and pecorino cheese. The pine nuts added a buttery flavor, and the prosciutto a crispy texture. To make this for your family — mine went nuts over it! —

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Insalata Rustica

Insalata Rustica

Insalata Rustica

Ingredients

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 ounces 1/8-inch-thick slices prosciutto, chopped
1 1/2 cups stemmed seedless red grapes
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
10 cups (loosely packed) greens, such as frisée, arugula, and torn radicchio
2 Bosc pears, cored; 1 cut into matchstick-size pieces, 1 thinly sliced
Aged balsamic vinegar (for drizzling)
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
4 ounces 1/8-inch-thick rectangular slices Pecorino Romano cheese, each slice cut on diagonal into triangles

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Whisk 1/2 cup oil and lemon juice in small bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add prosciutto to skillet and sauté until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer crisp prosciutto to paper towels to drain.
  4. Toss grapes with 1 tablespoon oil on rimmed baking sheet. Roast until grapes begin to shrivel, about 15 minutes. Cool grapes on baking sheet.
  5. Place cherries in small bowl. Add enough hot water to cover cherries by 1 inch. Let cherries soak in bowl 15 minutes to soften. Drain.*
  6. Mix greens, matchstick-sized pear pieces, dressing, 2/3 of prosciutto, grapes, and cherries in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among plates.
  7. Garnish with pear slices, drizzle with vinegar, and sprinkle with pine nuts and remaining prosciutto. Garnish with cheese.

Serves 8.

*Dressing, prosciutto, grapes, and cherries can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.


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Join The Conversation
llendril llendril 7 years
i actually made this to go with our thanksgiving dinner on thursday. everyone loved it!
ilanac13 ilanac13 7 years
ooooh this looks soo good. now that i'm back from the family's house from the holidays i think that it's time to amp up the salad intake since that wasn't part of the menu over the past few days. :) thanks for this one...i don't know if there's anything in there that i wouldn't include!
Kimpossible Kimpossible 7 years
Oh that does look delicious!!!
Kel-Bel Kel-Bel 7 years
This looks delicious! I love to experiment w/ salads, but this is a combination I would never have thought of...sounds so light & fresh...I can't wait to try it! I think I'm still full from Thanksgiving, so this would definitely hit the spot!
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