We are a bacon on Saturday morning family! Although I am not a huge meat eater, there is also nothing more satisfying than a BLT&A (Bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado sandwich!) But if you are really a porcine connoisseur you must add prosciutto to your repertoire. Talk about an A-ha moment! Recently, I made a fun salad of arugula, radicchio, endive, fennel, sliced pears, avocado, ribbons of Parmesan, sugared walnuts, and crispy Prosciutto!
Gypsy salad à la Prosciutto
I am a fan of using a variety of lettuces in my salads. Not only does it bless with color but it also ups the nutrition quotient. Arugula has a bite, but I love it combined with Parmesan. Radicchio adds a stroke of color, and fennel surprises with subtle hints of licorice. You can always add baby spinach to any salad. I like to think of avocado as the butter to the salad! Yum! I have a sweet tooth so the sugared walnuts make me smile. Place a cup or more walnuts in a sauce pan with 1/4 cup of sugar. Literally, you just stir until the sugar melts over the walnuts and then pour out onto a baking sheet to cool. Crumble the nuts over the salad at the end. Pears are in season right now, so you will have your pick of several varieties (not too hard and not too soft!). I recommend using a vegetable peeler to trim ribbons off the block of Parmesan. I dress the salad before adding the bacon and croutons. As for the salad dressing, I keep it simple. A generous drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, a swirl of Maple syrup, salt and pepper and toss.
I love the Prosciutto from Trader Joe’s but you can now find this Italian love at most grocery stores. Lay them out on a tin foil-covered baking sheet and place in the oven at 400. Watch them because prosciutto crisps much faster than bacon. Crumble over the salad. A salad is not a salad without my homemade croutons. I recommend the olive ciabatta bread from Trader Joe’s. Cut up in bite-size chunks. Generously drizzle the bread with olive oil, a couple of tablespoons of Herbes de Provence, and a pinch or two of Kosher salt. Bake at 400 degrees until crisp. The piece de resistance is the crisp prosciutto on top! This salad can be a meal or a nice accompaniment to a roasted chicken!
While on the subject of bacon, you should take a look at a great “Book Lover’s” blog curated by Jennifer Puryear, and entitled, Bacon on the Bookshelf. Apparently, she is in the porcine fan club too! You can count on Jennifer for smart book recommendations and great guest blog posts! This week she posted her Spring Break booklist! I immediately headed to Parnassus Bookshop and picked up two of her suggestions. One, about mermaids, the other, a modern-day fairy tale! Spring Break 2015 reading here I come!
Mermaids in Paradise, by Lydia Millet, makes the top of my list: smart, funny, slightly wacky, and in the end, deeply moving. Actual mermaids make several (underwater) appearances in this novel, set in the Caribbean – a choice that seems risky when you first read about it on the dust jacket or in a review – but Millet works this bit of fantasy so deftly into her story that you find yourself believing in them wholeheartedly from first page to last. (Bacon on the Bookshelf)
The Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro, is a fantastical/fairy tale/mythical book “more than worthy” to take its place alongside the quests “of Sir Gawain, and Tennyson’s King Arthur, and Frodo.” (Bacon on the Bookshelf)
I’m signing off for a week of “Spring Break” fun on the farm with my family!