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Green Salad with Serrano Ham and Tomato Vinaigrette

Green Salad with Serrano Ham and Tomato Vinaigrette
As early as 500 A.D., lettuces, asparagus, leeks, garlic, and wild herbs and greens were used in salads around the Mediterranean. Vinegars were made from grapes, figs, or peaches and salt. During the years when the Moors planted the first market gardens and orchards in Spain, spring onions and citrus juices were added to the mix. With the discovery of the New World, tomatoes and peppers became salad standbys.

Ingredients:

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1 lb. ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and
      coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbs. sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 to 8 Tbs. sherry wine vinegar
  • 2 heads romaine or butter lettuce, leaves
      separated and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and sliced
  • 2 or 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 lb. serrano ham, thinly sliced and cut into
      strips
  • 1/3 cup mixed black and green olives

Directions:

To make the vinaigrette, in a blender or food processor, combine the tomatoes, garlic, paprika, cumin and salt and pulse to puree. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and vinegar, processing until fully incorporated.

Place the lettuce in a bowl. Drizzle on just enough of the vinaigrette to coat, toss well and transfer to a platter. Top with the eggs, onions, ham and olives. Spoon the rest of the vinaigrette on top.
Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Spain & Portugal, by Joyce Goldstein (Time-Life Books, 2000).