Arugula Salad with Pear & Prosciutto

Press 195I love it when my friends live close to good restaurants, especially when they’re inexpensive ones. Then you always have a convenient place to meet up. My friend Paul used to live above Press 195 which is a panini shop in Park Slope that has great sandwiches, inexpensive beers and wine and a lovely patio during the summer. Basically a great place for hanging out.

Even though they have over 40 different paninis to choose from I’d always order my favorite the Prosciutto Di Parma with sliced pears, fontina, baby arugula and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Pear, Prosciutto and Arugula Salad Ingredients

The prosciutto and pear slices mingle with the melted fontina while the peppery arugula cuts through the luscious greasy goodness. Yum. Sadly, I don’t have a picture of it.

Cooking the ProsciuttoWhisking the salad dressing

I wanted to make something light to go with my deviled eggs and on my way back from the gym this morning I passed by Press 195 which got me thinking about their panini. I’m trying to eat low carb these days to fight back against my Easter chocolate gluttony and that panini had solid potential as an arugula salad with a couple adjustments.

Instead of the fontina I decided to switch to Romano cheese, half because I already had some in the house and half because, as a hard cheese, its lower in fat than fontina. I’m ditching the bread and bringing in a little sweetness by adding honey (I know honey’s not low carb but teaspoon doesn’t hurt) to the dressing for the arugula salad. Ingredients prepped and ready to go

Sadly, I’m using some of the last honey from my parents’ bees, both their hives suffered colony collapse this winter which is weird because the hives went into winter looking very strong but when my father opened them up this spring there weren’t any bees left.  Combined the two hives left behind 60 pounds honey, so they certainly weren’t short of food. Most of that honey will go towards setting up new hives later this spring.

The latest research has linked colony collapse to pesticide usage but my parents don’t live in an agricultural area. Their part of Connecticut is rural and mostly forest. My mother is into organic so they don’t use any pesticides.  We don’t know what went wrong.

Arugula salad from abovePear, Prosciutto and Arugula Salad's close up

Anyway, this is a great salad that’s worthy of some of the last of my precious honey from our original hives. With just a couple ingredients this salad is easy to out together and with the umani from the cheese and bacon its packed with flavor.

Pear, Prosciutto and Arugula Salad (yields one large salad or 2 side salads)

(Total time:10 minutes)

For vinaigrette

  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon mild honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • a pinch salt
  • a pinch black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

For salad

  • 3 slices prosciutto (or bacon) the best prosciutto I have ever found is at Marky's
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 ripe pear, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups baby arugula
  • 3 tablespoons shaved Parmesan or Romano

For the vinaigrette: Whisk together the vinegar, honey, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a salad bowl. Add the olive oil in a slow stream, whisking until combined well.

For the salad: Cook the prosciutto in oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, turning frequently, until just crisp, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain (pancetta will crisp as it cools). Tear into bite-size pieces.

Toss pear, arugula, cheese, and prosciutto with dressing to coat. Serve immediately

-My Pear, Prosciutto and Arugula Salad recipe was inspired by my favorite Press 195 sandwich #35 the  Prosciutto Di Parma with sliced pears, fontina, baby arugula and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil