Salad. Most people tend to either love it or hate it (or at least begrudgingly tolerate it by inviting it to occasional guest appearances on their plates). I now belong to the first group and properly so, unlike the teenage version of myself, who used to kid herself, thinking that raiding the all-you-can-eat salad bar at Pizza Hut and completely drowning said salad in grated rubber cheese, artificial ‘bacon bits’ and that infamous 80’s thousand island dressing was somehow a virtuous feat. (Amazing the power of self-persuasion!)
These days there is usually some sort of green, mixed salad in our fridge. It makes healthy meals on-the-go much easier as a bit of protein on the side transforms it into an easy, healthy meal. The same old salad can get a bit repetitious though and as I’ve always loved the sweet/salty combination, this one ticks all of the boxes; sweet apples, salty prosciutto and onions and if you grill the prosciutto, you get that lovely crunch too. I came up with this salad at the end of last summer, when my usual go-to fruit (FIGS!!!) were no longer available, or at least without mortgaging the house. So, lovely, new-season apples it was. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
- Washed and spun baby spinach.
- Several apples ( you can choose red or green according to how sweet or tart you like them) I used about 4 in order not to waste space on my baking tray but it’s up to you. (Just a tip though, the non-green salad elements always tend to go most quickly. Funny that!)
- A few dabs of butter (for baking of apples). Otherwise you could use coconut oil or ghee.
- Several brown onions (to caramelize). I always use a few more than I would normally go for. (Depressing how much onions reduce by when caramelized but they are so worth the tears).
- 1 tablespoon of honey (to caramelize onions)
- salt and pepper
- Several strips of prosciutto ( I always buy Italian because they really do use traditional curing methods which makes preservatives unnecessary. Check the labels and you’ll see that unfortunately the most widely available Australian and even Spanish prosciutto here are full of those pesky preservatives.)
- For dressing I use the most simple and delicious 2 ingredients; organic olive oil and my new favourite sugar-free Sweet Balsamic Reduction by Jomeis Fine Foods. I buy it at Taste Organic, Turramurra here in Sydney. Most delicious addition to your pantry you’ll make in a while, I promise.
Method Salad and Apples.
- Wash and spin baby spinach. Let it continue to air-dry as you complete the other elements of salad.
- Wash and dry apples. I cut them each into half, through the core and then continue to cut each apple half into wedges, starting in the middle of each half. Trim and discard seeds and cores as you go along.
- Dab with a bit of butter and bake in 160 degree Celcius oven about 20 minutes, flipping them over half-way. Do not go and do some weeding in the garden nor walk the dog during this time. They will burn and turn into apple charcoal otherwise. Keep an eye on them as you prepare the caramelized onions.
- Wash, peel and finely slice onions. For a bigger salad last time I used 5. (I cut them into half, through the middle and having placed them flat onto a chopping board, slice them finely into ‘rainbow’ slices.
- Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil or butter in a saucepan (heavy-based the best, I find I like le Creuset or similar)
- Throw in all of the sliced onions and mix on high heat for several minutes. Then reduce heat and cover with lid after adding honey, salt and pepper. It should take about 15 minutes to caramelize or so. Just keep an eye on it.
Method Prosciutto and assembly
- In the meantime, spread slices of prosciutto onto lined baking tray and grill on medium heat in oven until lightly grilled.
- Once this is all done, you have all of the elements ready. I once took this salad to a girlfriend’s and transported all of the elements separately in jars and containers until ready to serve.
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