I have a love/hate relationship with salads. In summer, salads can be the main event and I don't mind putting a little effort into them. They are lovely, crisp and refreshing on a hot summer's day. In the long, cold winter months, however, I usually direct my time toward some kind of warm and homey main dish and the salad just doesn't garner much of my attention. Our winter weeknight salad is usually just some uninspired romaine with oil and vinegar.
I was planning the menu for my Mom's 85th birthday dinner and I knew the occasion deserved something a little more special than chopped romaine. I have been on a shallot and balsamic kick lately, so I decided on a simple caramelized shallot dressing with prosciutto crisps and some blue cheese crumbles. The dressing and the crisps can be made ahead of time, so when combined with pre-washed packaged greens it's a cinch to pull together - even in the salad doldrums of winter!
Caramelized Shallot Dressing:
Caramelize sliced shallots with olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme over medium-low heat. Deglaze the pan with some balsamic vinegar, then whisk in some oil.
Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 400 for about 8 minutes until crispy.
Mix the greens with the dressing and the cheese. Gently toss in the crisps. The first time I made the salad I used a mild blue cheese, the second time I used goat cheese. Choose whichever cheese you prefer.
Caramelized Shallot & Crispy Prosciutto Salad Recipe:
1 cup shallots, halved lengthwise and sliced ¼”
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
3-ounces prosciutto, sliced paper thin
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
8 cups greens (I used a blend of mesclun mix and baby arugula)
½ cup goat cheese or mild blue cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Add shallots, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme to a medium sauté pan over medium-low heat. Cook stirring occasionally until caramelized, about 25 -30 minutes.
While shallots are cooking, line a half-sheet baking tray with parchment paper. Lay prosciutto slices on prepared tray and bake until crispy and browned about 7-10 minutes. Allow to cool, then break into pieces.
When shallots are caramelized, deglaze pan with balsamic vinegar. Whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Allow to cool about 5 minutes. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired.
In large bowl, toss greens with cheese and shallot dressing. Gently mix in prosciutto crisps. Serve and enjoy!
*The "Printable Recipe" link looks a little different, but should work just fine. Please let me know if you have any trouble.