I created this recipe for a cooking demo/lecture on sustainable eating I did in the Bay Area. I love the sheep and cow milk cheeses made by Northern California’s Bellwether Farms; Stracchino di Crescenza is a traditional cow’s milk cheese from Lombardy. Make this simple salad with the last nectarines of the season;. citrus such as blood oranges are nice during the colder months.
NECTARINE, PROSCIUTTO & ARUGULA SALAD WITH BELLWETHER
Four slices of baguette, 1/4-inch thick and cut
on a long bias and brushed lightly with extra virgin olive oil
4 oz. (1/4 lb.) Bellwether Farms Crescenza cheese (available online and at select cheese shops nationwide; you may substitute chevre, Pont l’Eveque, or blue cheese), placed in a strainer to drain any liquid
2 t. finely minced shallot
2 T. good-quality white Balsamic Vinegar (I like the one from Stonehouse) or Champagne Vinegar
Pinch kosher salt
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil, or to taste, plus extra for brushing on baguette
5 c. arugula
2-3 medium nectarines, ripe but not mushy, cut into 1/4-inch slices
4 oz. prosciutto, sliced paper thin (about eight slices). Tear each slice
into halves or thirds, so you have medium-size pieces that will crumple nicely on the salad.
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Brush baguette slices lightly with olive oil, place on a baking sheet and toast until crisp but not browned. Alternatively, you may grill them.
The vinaigrette: Place the shallot, vinegar, and salt together in a small bowl and let macerate for at least 10 minutes and up to one hour to mellow the flavor of the shallot. Add the olive oil in a slow stream, whisking to combine. Add more vinegar or oil, if necessary. If not using immediately, rewhisk before dressing greens.
When ready to serve, spread each toast with one ounce of Crescenza. Set aside. In a large bowl, toss the arugula with just enough vinaigrette to lightly coat the leaves. Add nectarine slices and gently toss one more time to coat nectarines without bruising them. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
Arrange mound of arugula on each of four salad plates, adding several nectarine slices. Gently crumple and add the prosciutto and place a Crescenza toast on each plate. Serve immediately.
© The Sustainable Kitchen ®, 2009