This simple salad is the perfect start to a romantic meal. The tanginess of the sherry vinegar and the sweetness of the pears activates the appetite, and the richness of the prosciutto satisfies without taking away from things yet to come.
1 medium Anjou pear
1 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar
1 cup mesclun salad mix
¼ cup chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 slices prosciutto, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Gently toast the walnuts in a dry pan until they start to brown and become lightly fragrant. Be careful not to burn them. Remove from heat and cool in a separate bowl.
Peel and core the pear. Slice as thinly as possible into half-moon-shaped slices. Toss with sherry vinegar in a bowl to prevent discoloration, then pour off the vinegar into a small mixing bowl.
Whisk olive oil into the sherry vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Toss with the greens and half the chopped walnuts to lightly coat. The salad should be just barely dressed, not dripping with sauce.
Place a small mound of the greens onto each serving plate. Place several pear slices over the greens in a fan shape. Sprinkle with the prosciutto and the remaining walnuts. Serve immediately.
Recipe by Mark Tafoya