Oh the salads! Oh how I love the salads!
Can you believe Grace detests salads in all forms? She hates lettuce, hates crisp, crunchy cucumbers and peppers, hates anything green and leafy and fresh. What is wrong with that girl??
I've tried for 15 years to reform her but so far I'm losing. I can get her to force a salad down but she's not happy about it and has to constantly repress that gag reflex. I repeat: What is wrong with that girl??
Anyway, she had the misfortune to be born into a family that loves salads and we eat them all the time and this one freaked her out most royally.
But bad news baby, I loved it so it's going into the permanent collection. Someday she'll thank me.
As another quirky note to the tale, this particular salad calls for prosciutto and as we all know anything in its original Italian is terribly expensive, right? While prosciutto is just fancy cured, thinly sliced ham I wanted to give the family a taste of the good stuff that night so when I served dinner I handed out salads, each with a cute little curl of meat delicately rolled on the side.
But wouldn't you know it the pagan dogs turned their noses up at it! Two bucks of paper thin meat on their plate and they didn't want to eat it.
It was the end of a long day and faced with the option of forcing them to eat something they didn't want and casting my pearls before swine (or swine before swine I suppose you could say) I gave up right there and with a growl reached across the table and snatched the prosciutto off of each of their plates and munched it down right there in front of them.
It was fabulous.
8 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
3 peaches at room temperature, peeled and cut into eight wedges
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons blueberry balsamic vinegar (or regular balsamic in a pinch)
1 1/2 cups fresh corn
2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced
6 cups loosely packed arugula
Arrange the prosciutto in pretty little curls on 4 dinner plates along with the arugula.
Place the peaches in a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Heat the butter over medium heat until the foam subsides and the butter has turned light brown. Add the bay leaf, thyme, peaches, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss for 1 minute then pull the peaches out of the pan and divide over the four plates. Add the chicken and saute for three minutes until cooked then add corn and saute another minute. Divide the mixture over the plates.
Serve immediately--you can also drizzle any extra leftover butter and balsamic mix over the plates if you wish.
And if that salad wasn't enough to send my teen shrieking in terror you can imagine her joy when she saw I'd been sent Simply Salads by Jennifer Chandler to review.
And more bad news Grace, it's a great book.
Of course I do love getting cookbooks so I'm not exactly a hard sell but this one seems to really be a good one and I'll tell you why:
1. Salads are always great. You can eat them as sides or as mains, they're healthy, they're fresh and they're good with my other three favorites: pasta, soup and sandwiches. So right off, I love the subject.
2. I've never met a salad I didn't like. Seriously. Never. Oops--except deli potato salad. I despise that stuff so I guess that's the only one I don't eat. Out of over 100 recipes I'm not seeing any that don't look terrific.
3. This cookbook has a picture for every recipe. Yes, you read that right, a full color photo for every recipe. On every page. I know that publishers have a hard time doing that but I'll tell you it's an absolute must for me when I'm cooking. I have to have a goal and a picture gets me know what I'm shooting for.
4. There are some salad staples like the basic Caesar but with over 100 recipes you also get Warm Fingerling Potato Salad, Warm Wild Mushroom Salad, Baked Polenta Salad, Pink Lady Apple Slaw and Wild Flower Herb Salad. All looking very beautiful, very delectable.
5. These salads are all designed to be made with pre-packaged, washed and ready-to-go greens from your supermarket. Chandler outlines the different varieties and what "spring mix" or "triple hearts" mean and gives you recipes where you can use them. All fast and easy and in half the time of regular salad preparation. Love it!
So look out Grace, I fear your next three months will come to be known as Summer of the Salads. Muahahahaha!
Sponsored by Beau-Coup for unique baby shower favors.