Grilled pear and crispy prosciutto salad

Grilled pear and crispy prosciutto salad


After eating this salad, I wondered why I had never grilled pears before now. The sweet pears, crispy prosciutto, tangy goat cheese and toasted pecans, make for the perfect salad bite.



Pears are usually sold under-ripe, which is great for this recipe. If you try and grill ripe pears they will flop and fall apart. Anjous pears that are still firm are the perfect type for grilling, but not all supermarkets carry all varieties so any firm pear that you can find is perfect. 

Grilled pear and crispy prosciutto salad


When I was making the dressing for this salad, it occurred to me that it would be perfect to brush onto the pears before grilling, and let me tell  you, when that balsamic vinegar caramelizes with the pears, it’s perfection.

Grilled pear and crispy prosciutto salad                                                  print

Ingredients  
(serves 4)

For the salad

  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 4 slices Prosciutto di Parma
  • 4 firm pears of your choice, sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • Salad greens of your choice, I used baby spinach and arugula

For the dressing

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons light agave nectar or honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
  • Small pinch of salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small sauté pan, add the pecans.
  3. Toast the pecans over medium low heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes per side.
  4. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the prosciutto slices evenly spaced.
  5. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes or until crispy, remove and allow to cool on baking sheet.
  6. In a mixing bowl combine the lime, balsamic vinegar, agave or honey, ginger, salt and pepper.
  7. Whisk in the olive oil. Set aside.
  8. Preheat a grill pan over medium high heat.
  9. Brush both sides of the pear slices with the salad dressing.
  10. Grill the pears for 2 minutes on each side, remove and set aside and allow to cool.
  11. In a large mixing bowl add the salad greens and toss with the salad dressing, reserving some to add later.
  12. Divide the greens amongst 4 dishes.
  13. Divide the pecans between the 4 dishes.
  14. Arrange the cooled pear slices on the salad and top with the goat cheese.
  15. Crumble the prosciutto in your hands and sprinkle over the salads.
  16. Top with more dressing if needed.

Grilled pear and crispy prosciutto salad

Chicken tostada salad

Chicken tostada salad



What I love about making a salad is they are so versatile, you can add just about anything you feel like eating. The same goes for this tostada salad. 

This salad starts with flour tortillas. To get the ‘fluted’ shape to hold the salad, I brushed the tortillas with olive oil on both sides. Then using a muffin pan, I turned it upside down and pressed the tortillas into the wells. Make sure to get the bottom of the tortilla nice and flat so it will stand. I tried doing this with corn tortillas and just couldn’t make it work. No matter how soft I made them they always broke.  A 12 muffin pan will only hold 2 tortillas at a time, so you’ll need to bake them in batches.

Chicken tostada salad

As far as toppings go, as I said you can really add anything you like. The toppings I used were easy corn salsa. To that I added 2 tablespoons of black beans. Iceberg lettuce , avocado and a Mexican crema dressing.
Chicken tostada salad

Chicken tostada salad                       print

(4 servings)        
   
Ingredients                                              

  • 4 each- 5 inch flour tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for brushing on tortillas)
  • Boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bit size pieces

For the chicken seasoning

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • Pinch ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

For the toppings

  • Corn salsa (recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons canned black beans, drained
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped

For the dressing

  • 4 tablespoons Mexican crema
  • 2 teaspoons Chipotle tabasco sauce
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Small pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Brush each tortilla with oil on both sides.
  3. Using a muffin tin turned upside down, press the tortillas into a shell shape in between the muffin cups.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool.
  5. Prepare salsa.
  6. In a small mixing bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and stir until combined. Set aside.
  7. Sprinkle the chicken seasoning to the chicken and mix well.
  8. In a large sauté pan add 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat over medium heat.
  9. Sauté chicken until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
  10. Take a cooled tostada shell and add the iceberg lettuce.
  11. Add the cooked chicken, then the corn salsa and drizzle with the crema dressing.
  12. Serve with your favorite toppings, cheese, sour cream, avocado.

Chicken tostada salad

Chicken tostada salad

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Winter squash salad

Winter squash salad

Who says you can’t eat a salad when the weather cools down? Well, it’s cooled down for most of the country but the warm sunny weather seems to be hanging on here in Los Angeles, but I can pretend it’s chilly outside. Since we are deep into holiday season, I love that you can incorporate the flavors of the season into a salad.  Butternut squash roasted with salt and pepper. Maple glazed pecans, blue cheese, sweet honey crisp apple over fresh spinach, dressed with an orange vinaigrette. You had me at maple glazed pecans.

Maple glazed pecans

I must warn you in advance, it will take all your strength not snack on these sweet crunchy nutty bites of perfection while you are assembling this salad. I had to quickly snap this photo before I ruined the shot.
Roasting butternut squash really is the best, and only way to cook this beautiful vegetable. In addition to it’s creamy flavor, roasting brings out it’s naturally sweetness, so it doesn’t need much seasoning at all. Just olive oil, salt, pepper and dried sage.

Roasted butternut squash


Ingredients (4 servings)         print recipe

For the vinaigrette

  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 cup orange 
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

For the salad

  • 6 ounces of raw pecan halves
  • 1 whole butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried sage
  • 2 tablespoons Maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons fine baking sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 large honey crisp apples, sliced
  • 1 ounce blue cheese, crumbled
  • 6 oz fresh spinach

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Spread the pecans onto a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 10 minutes (keep your eye on them to prevent burning).
  3. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  4. Raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
  5. In a small mixing bowl add the orange zest, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and agave nectar. 
  6. While whisking, drizzle in the olive oil until mixed. Set aside.
  7. Cut the butternut squash lengthwise and take out the seeds. 
  8. Slice the squash across into 1/4 slices.
  9. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. 
  10. Mix the salt, pepper and dried sage together and sprinkle over the butternut squash. Use your hands to rub, making sure both sides are covered.
  11. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, or until browned. Set aside to cool.
  12. In a mixing bowl add the maple syrup, fine sugar and pinch of salt.
  13. Add the cooled pecans and mix well until all pecans are coated.
  14. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
  15. Add the pecans to the pan in a single layer and cook for 2 minutes. Stir until they start to smell like caramel.
  16. Remove from heat and allow to cool in a single layer on a baking sheet. Separate so they don’t stick together.
  17. In a large mixing bowl, add the spinach and drizzle with the vinaigrette, toss to coat.
  18. Serve the spinach topped with the butternut squash, pecans, sliced apple and crumbled blue cheese.
  19. Drizzle more vinaigrette if needed.


Chicken caesar salad

Did you know that the Caesar salad was not invented by the Roman Emperor? In 1924, an Italian immigrant, chef Caesar Cardini, had a restaurant in San Diego, California. Prohibition hit and due to customer demand and low supplies, he had to start using ingredient's that he had in his kitchen. And so was born the Caesar salad.  
I've had a standing request from my husband for me to make him a Caesar the past few days. So here you go honey.


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