Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mediterranean Salad with Prosciutto and Pomegranate

I have to be honest - sometimes I make food because it is just too darn pretty to resist.  Look at this salad for one.  My picture doesn't do it justice, but if you check out the original recipe at Bon Appetit and the version from Smitten Kitchen, it's just gorgeous and so very festive - I love the colors of the white bowl or platter, the greens, the proscuitto and the pomegranate.  And I love the combination of proscuitto and fruit, whether it's pomegranate or melon.  The fennel made me a little nervous because neither Alex nor I is particularly enamored of the licorice/anise flavor of fennel, but sometimes you have to live a little.  When I was thinking of a salad to go with the Spicy Chickpea Soup I was making for dinner I jumped at the opportunity to make this one and then didn't bother to tell Alex what I was making, except to say that he would like it because it includes one of his favorite ingredients.  I believe Alex said something along the lines of "sure" and then went back to fighting the good fight with Turbotax.  When I put the salad out on the dinner table I was hoping that it was every bit as tasty as it looked and it absolutely was.  The pomegranate seeds gave the salad a wonderfully sweet and tart flavor that balanced nicely against the salty porky flavor of the prosciutto and the anise flavor of the fennel.  For those of you who might worry about the inclusion of the fennel, I think that tossing it in evoo and salt prior to adding it into the salad mellowed out the intense flavor of the fennel.  I was pleasantly surprised by how well it worked in the salad. 

And given how much we both liked the salad, I think it definitely made the cut for recipes that we will making again in the future.  I would definitely serve this salad for company (or for the holidays) because it looks and tastes fancy, even though it is supremely easy to throw together.  I know this is completely superficial but it would look so perfect on the table for Christmas dinner or any dinner party, and sometimes, you just want to look perfect.

Recipe after the jump!

Mediterranean Salad with Prosciutto and Pomegranate
Bon Appetit
November 2008

2 cups very thinly sliced fennel bulb
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
6 cups arugula (we used a combination of arugula and a spring mix)
1 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 3-ounce packages thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into strips
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
Toss fennel and 1 tablespoon olive oil in medium bowl. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Combine arugula, green onions, mint, vinegar, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in large bowl; toss. Season with salt and pepper.
Divide greens among plates. Top with fennel, then drape with prosciutto. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over.

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