spinach salad with prosciutto, mushrooms and pine nuts

Someone suggested on my blog that should post more salads. I am always thrilled when people actually ask for something specific, because it means I have to think a bit less. One less decision to make is always a good thing in my book.

And regarding salads, I guess I should have gotten the hint While everyone says they like heavy comfort food, the posts with salads always get the most hits. You all loved the Cavolo Nero salad, and the Fennel and Orange salad seemed to go over big time too.

Obviously salad doesn’t have to mean just lettuce. We all know that. But still, I wandered into the local vegetable store on Via dei Serpenti without much of an idea in mind. Nothing really inspired me until I spied the crate of spinach in the back. Filthy dirty, covered in mud, it looked gorgeous. I got a few mushrooms too, since they looked particularly perky.

I figure if I am making a dish that is mostly vegetables, and leafy greens at that, I don’t see why I shouldn’t be working a bit of pork in there as well. Right? And I had bought some beautiful prosciutto for Sophie to take back to London, but she had forgotten in the fridge so it was just asking to be used. I know I said no meat this month. But prosciutto doesn’t count, does it? It’s kind of like a condiment.

The result is the following Spinach Salad. It’s wasn’t the main dish, but paired perfectly with the Cauliflower and Potato Soup, which was.

Spinach Salad with Mushrooms, Prosciutto and Pine Nuts

1 pound cleaned spinach
6 mushrooms
3 cloves garlic
4 slices of prociutto
3 scallions
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil plus 1 Tablespoon
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
salt & pepper

Carefully take off the thick stems of the spinach and wash, drain, and place in salad bowl.

Chop the mushrooms roughly, into smallish pieces. Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil in frying pan and turn heat to high. Add mushrooms and avoid the urge to stir. You want the mushrooms to cook quickly, at high heat, so they brown at the edges and don’t turn mushy. Give the pan a couple of shakes to move things around.

After they’ve cooked for about 5 minutes, and gotten brown along the edges, add the chopped garlic and pine nuts. Now you can stir, for a minute, until garlic starts to become fragrant and pine nuts start to brown. Set aside in a small bowl.

In same frying pan add the prosciutto, which you’ve cut into half inch ribbons. Let it cook , stirring, until it becomes darker pink and starts to really crisp up, like bacon. About 5 minutes. Set aside.

Make dressing my adding olive oil to the mustard and slowly whisking to emulsify. Add salt and pepper and vinegar.

When ready to serve, add everything to the spinach, including chopped scallions and toss well. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust to taste.

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