I’d like to call this the three P salad, but it might detract from its loveliness, so pears, prosciutto & parmigiano it is.
Pear and parmesan alone is a brilliant combination. I love how the pear’s sweet juice (the pear’s got to be ripe) washes away the cheese’s saltiness, then the fruitiness of the cheese (yes, parmesan has fruity notes!) comes on through and matches that of the pear. A nice little mouthful if ever there was one.
100g thinly sliced prosciutto
1 small cos/romaine lettuce (or the hearts of 2 cos lettuce)
2 Tbsp pine nuts
2 Tbsp lemon juice
3 perfectly ripe pears
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Flaky sea salt
Small wedge of parmigiano-reggiano (proper parmesan!)
1 Remove prosciutto from fridge to make it easier to separate into slices. Trim cos lettuce and discard any tough outer leaves. Wash and dry. Toast pine nuts as described here (I browned mine in a microwave).
2 Put lemon juice in a large bowl. Peel pears, cut into quarters, remove cores and stems and slice thinly. Add to bowl with lemon juice and toss well, massaging each piece with lemon juice. Add lettuce to bowl, breaking larger leaves into manageable pieces. Drizzle everything with oil and add a few pinches of salt. Toss carefully. Add pine nuts. Arrange salad on plates. Shave over a few flakes of parmesan and add a few curls of prosciutto. That’s it. It’s so simple. Serve and enjoy.
Everything on this plate has a role to play, too: the lettuce brings a touch of spring, if only for the colour of the leaves, and it adds some good crunch. The pine nuts add crunch, too, as well as a buttery-ness that mimics the buttery texture of the young cos leaves. Sweet and salty prosciutto marries it all together. Simply scrumptious. It’s the perfect time of year to knock this up while pears are at their sweetest.
You can brown the pine nuts in a slick of oil in a pan if you like, or toast them in a microwave. See here.
Read here about how to ripen pears perfectly.
What makes this simple salad so delicious is the quality of ingredients. Read about parmesan here.
To ring the changes, you could add a little basil or mint to the salad.
Photography Aaron McLean http://www.aaronmclean.com