A few leaves of romaine. A handful of spinach. A couple of tomatoes. Maybe some olives.
This is usually what comes to mind when you hear the words side salad.
You begrudgingly toss together some greens to give yourself a well-rounded meal and to add some veggies into your otherwise veggie-less dinner. You are an adult. You eat salads with your meals.
Banish those thoughts from your mind.
I’m about to change the way you think about salads.
It’s going to change your life.
This will change a bowl of lettuce into a savory, delicious side dish you will want to accompany any meal. If you are looking for a light dinner or a hearty lunch, this also works as a meal.
You’re probably thinking, dressing? How is that going to change my salad life?
And then you’re probably thinking, dressing? Who has time to make that? I can just buy a bottle.
Now, I have some bottled dressings in the fridge. But nothing compares to the freshness and the brightness of the flavors in a homemade dressing.
Plus, sodium, preservatives, dyes, colorings. These things are in your bottled dressing.
So, if you make your own, you can have control (control freak again!) over what goes into your food.
This dressing takes a minute to make, literally.
All you need are
- olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- spicy mustard
Drizzle a little olive oil in a frying pan. Rip up some prosciutto into the pan. You don’t need to be neat, just tear it up. The more rustic and homemade it looks, the better. People will believe you when you said you made it.
Figure about 2 or 3 pieces of prosciutto per person. You can add more if this is going to be your main meal.
Turn the heat to medium and cook the prosciutto until it is crispy. This only take a minute, so don’t walk away.
When the prosciutto is crispy, lower the heat and drizzle in some red wine vinegar.
Add a tablespoon of spicy mustard and stir. Turn the heat back up, stirring to combine.
This is one of those recipes that can be tailored entirely to your taste. If you like a more acidic dressing, a splash more vinegar. If you want more spice, a little more mustard. The prosciutto is salty enough so do not add salt. Black pepper is okay if you like, but the mustard I use has enough kick for us.
When the dressing thickens slightly and is combined, pour over your salad.
Here is a bowl of baby spinach, tomatoes, dried cranberries and black olives. A perfectly respectable side salad.
And here is that same salad with the dressing.
See the difference?
Warm, crispy, salty prosciutto, tangy vinegar and a kick of mustard atop the mild crunchy spinach. A juicy tomato bursts in your mouth. The briny olive and the sweet cranberry. A riot of flavors.
The perfect prelude to the much anticipated (for me anyway) heaping bowl of spaghetti with broccoli pesto.