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Mesclun, Arugula and Fennel Salad with Prosciutto and Pear Vinaigrette

A trio of taste sensations—sweet, sour, salty—and a host of exotic flavors come together in this salad. It is simple to make, but it demands the very best ingredients you can find. Mesclun, a mix of young, tender salad greens, is available from high-quality greengrocers. Seek out prosciutto and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese imported from Italy.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup pear nectar
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 5 oz. mesclun salad greens
  • 1 cup arugula leaves, torn into pieces
  • 2 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, julienned
  • 4 ripe figs, quartered through the stem end
  • 1 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:

In a small bowl, stir together the pear nectar and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Set the dressing aside.

Cut off the stems and feathery tops and any bruised outer stalks from the fennel bulb. Cut the fennel bulb in half lengthwise and cut away and discard the core. Slice crosswise paper-thin. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine the mesclun and arugula. Add half of the dressing and toss well. Divide the greens evenly among individual plates. Top the greens with the fennel, prosciutto and figs and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Using a cheese plane or a vegetable peeler, shave thin slices from the cheese and sprinkle over the salads. Season with pepper and serve.
Serves 4
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Fresh & Light, by Lane Crowther (Time-Life Books, 1998).