I have been excited to share this recipe with you. It’s a recipe that celebrates where we are now — the tail end of winter with spring right around the corner. There’s no doubt the growing season will bring all sorts of incredible fruits to enjoy, but in the midst of all this fruit and vegetable anticipation, sometimes it’s easy to forget that the winter gives us gifts, too: the bright delights of citrus.
This salad is easy to make but doesn’t taste like it. When I worked as a chef, this is the exact kind of salad I would put on a menu. This week is my one-year anniversary of writing the Magic Table column. Fifty-two recipes, filled with my belief that home cooks are considerably more capable and skilled than they know. At the end of the day, we are all chefs of our home kitchens.
All that’s needed is trust in ingredients and trust in ourselves. The rest follows with tasting and practice.
Many restaurant chefs I know say the same thing, the longer they cook in restaurants and the more they travel and explore the horizons of creativity. Eventually they find their way back (often after many years) to a simpler approach to cooking. Not out of lack of inspiration or drive, but in pursuit of flavor. This is one of those recipes — where simplicity and ease intersect with flavor, and every ingredient has a role to play: The romaine is clean and crunchy; arugula adds a hint of pepper; the sharp bite of radicchio plays against the bright acidity of the orange and grapefruit; crispy prosciutto adds texture and a perfect hit of salt; while the Parmesan and shallot act as very good friends, keeping the salad grounded and sensible. Did you know a salad could do all that? And now you can make it and delight in the perfection of simple cooking, hopefully with as much confidence as any chef.
I should offer a warning: If you make this as a side salad (which you totally can do!), just be prepared for folks at the table to not want anything else. This salad pairs beautifully with avocado, grilled chicken, salmon, shrimp or even seared scallops.
Citrus and Crispy Prosciutto Salad
Makes 4 servings; total time: 20 minutes
For the prosciutto chips:
4 ounces prosciutto slices, torn into pieces
1 teaspoon olive oil
For the vinaigrette:
1 pink grapefruit
1 shallot, finely chopped
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt, black pepper and red chile flakes to taste
For the salad:
½ head of radicchio, sliced
1 bunch of romaine, sliced
3 cups arugula
Small handful fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
Parmesan cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler into curls
Make the prosciutto chips: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay out the prosciutto in a single layer. Rub the olive oil over the top and bake until the prosciutto is bubbling and crispy, around 15 minutes. Transfer the prosciutto to a bowl and reserve.
Make the vinaigrette: The first thing we need to do is cut the orange and grapefruit into segments. With a sharp knife, trim both ends of each piece of fruit. Set a flat side of the orange on the cutting board. Remove the peel by cutting around the orange, following the shape of the sphere. Discard the peels and you’re ready to slice segments. Set the fruit on its side in a shallow bowl. Cut toward the center, along a membrane. Then slice along the adjacent membrane until the cuts meet, releasing the segment. Transfer the segment to a bowl. Repeat until all segments are in the bowl. Squeeze juice out of the remaining orange membranes, picking out any seeds as you go. Reserve juice and fruit for serving. Repeat this for the grapefruit. By the end, you will have a bowl of orange and grapefruit segments and juice. Add the shallot, extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of salt, black pepper and red chile flakes to taste. Reserve.
Make the salad: Gently toss the vinaigrette with the radicchio, romaine, arugula and basil. Take a taste and add more salt, pepper or red chile flakes if needed. Garnish the top with crispy prosciutto and Parmesan curls.