Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Prune fest--the salad course

I've made this salad a few times in the last week and it is quickly becoming a favorite lunch. The base is simple--just some good greens (the lettuces, spinach and arugula in my garden are almost ready for thinning and they'd be great here) and some toasted chopped walnuts. What makes the salad special, and meal-worthy, are the little pink flavor bombs pictured below:
They are prunes, stuffed with goat cheese, wrapped in prosciutto and baked until the goat cheese is gooey and the ham is a little crisp at the edges. They are the perfect salty, sweet, tangy mouthful that need the greens to keep them from being overwhelming. I made an orange-muscat-walnut oil vinaigrette that also proved to be a good counterbalance to the richness of the prunes. While stuffing prunes sounds fiddly, it really wasn't bad:
It definitely helps to start with pitted prunes which just require a slit with a knife and a little stuffing of cheese. Roll them up in a little prosciutto and they are tidy little bundles ready for baking.

Prune-Chevre-Prosciutto Salad
adapted from an old Sunset magazine

About 5-6 prunes per person
a small log of fresh goat cheese
about 4 oz prosciutto
a nice load of mixed greens--spinach, arugula, baby lettuces
about 1/3 C toasted chopped walnuts

1/4 C fresh orange juice
a little orange zest
1/4 muscat vinegar (Morgan and York sells a nice one, or substitute another favorite vinegar)
1 small shallot, chopped fine
1/2 C walnut oil
1 t Dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 400.

Cut a slit in each prune, shove a lump of goat cheese inside and then wrap the prune in a slice of prosciutto. If the prosciutto is long or wide, cut into appropriate sized strips (see photo above for estimated size). Put the wrapped prunes on a silpat or parchment line baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes then remove them from the oven.

In a jar, mix together dressing ingredients. Make sure you have enough salt in the dressing.

Mound salad greens on plates, sprinkle with walnuts. Arrange prunes on the salad and drizzle with the dressing. Serve with a knife and fork (each prune takes at least two bites to eat and cutting them with a knife protects you from the dreaded ooze of hot cheese that could squirt out and burn your lip if you just bit into the prunes).


Ari_1965 said...

Great recipe. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

The recipe for the prunes is amazing...have you ever tried stuffing a walnut in the prune along with the cheese?

Kate said...

oooo--love the walnut idea, Beth! Next time I'll be sure to try that!