Baby Romaine Salad With Prosciutto
- Servings: Serves 2 as an entrée salad or four as a starter.
This recipe is from a recent issue of Fine Cooking magazine (my favorite cooking magazine) and it caught my attention because it features Little Gem lettuces. These tiny, crispy, and tightly leafed lettuces are becoming more popular; I'm seeing them featured more often not only in recipes but also on restaurant menus. But they are still not easy to find in our local markets.
But don't let that stop you from making this satisfying salad. Instead just substitute hearts of romaine, which have a similar crisp, fresh flavor and texture. The appeal of this salad is how it combines the crispy lettuce with thin slices of naturally sweet and nutty Prosciutto di Parma and a robust vinaigrette made with coarse whole-grain mustard.
The original recipe in Fine Cooking included 2 teaspoons of honey in the dressing, but I prefer my vinaigrette to be non-sweet, plus I look for ways to remove sugar from our diets. So I left the honey out completely.
I also substituted one tablespoon of the fresh lemon juice with red wine vinegar because I find that vinaigrettes made with all lemon juice can be too acidic; substituting a little wine vinegar makes a dressing a little more mellow and complex.
This salad makes an impressive first course in a dinner for company, but it's light enough to not compete with whatever you have to follow.
- 2 anchovies, finely minced into a paste
- 1 small garlic clove, peeled and grated
- The zest and 2 tablespoons of the juice of a small to medium lemon
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard (Maille's is very good)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup snipped chives
- 4 hearts little gem lettuce, trimmed and quarters (or the hearts of two heads of romaine lettuce)
- 3 oz. very thin slices of Prosciutto di Parma, cut in half lengthwise
- In a small bowl or jar with a lid, mix together the anchovies, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Stir or shake to combine.
- Add the olive oil, whisking or shaking until the oil is emulsified.
- Stir in the minced chives.
- Arrange the little gems or romaine hearts on a platter. Drizzle with about two thirds of the vinaigrette.
- Tuck the pieces of prosciutto around and across the lettuce and drizzle with the remaining dressing.
- Serve soon after having dressed the salad.
Tip: If you love this vinaigrette as much as I do, it's easy to make double or triple the amount and keep any unused portion refrigerated for up to a week. But if you plan to do this, keep the fresh chives aside until just before you use the dressing, adding them only just before serving.