Can I make a confession? The word “Tuscan” kind of sort of makes me swoon. It doesn’t really matter what’s being described, as soon as I hear it, I’ve already bought the villa and poured myself a glass of wine. Second confession–my initial encounter with this salad (it’s a copy cat salad from the Belgian chain Le Pain Quotidien) had far more to do with my susceptibility to the word “Tuscan” than this recipe’s relationship to Tuscany. Still, this salad is perfect. Prosciutto? Parmesan? Pesto? All there. And, aside from the tomato, these ingredients can be found year round!
The key to this, or really any, salad is fresh, high quality ingredients. It is particularly important to use high quality olive oil, parmesan, and prosciutto. The best prosciutto will be sliced right in front of you, but if your options are limited, this Volpi Prosciutto got high marks from Cooks Illustrated. This salad is also the perfect excuse to get out your fancy salt, I always use the Fleur de Sel from Le Saunier de Camargue.
- 2 bunches (about 6 cups) arugula
- 8 slices prosciutto
- 2 cups white beans (cooked)
- 1 large tomato (chopped)
- 4 thick slices of crusty bread
- 4 tablespoons pesto
- olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper
- Wash and dry arugula, divide between four plates.
- Drain beans and drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil, and add a generous pinch of salt and a few cranks of freshly ground pepper.
- In a small bowl, mix together four tablespoons pesto with about two tablespoons olive oil. Drizzle over arugula.
- Gently arrange beans evenly in the center of each plate of arugula. Add tomatoes, prosciutto (I prefer to cut the slices in to manageable pieces first), and shaved parmesan (I use a vegetable pealed to get large thin pieces).
- Tear bread into bite-sized pieces and top each salad with a slice of bread.
- In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, vigorously mix together two teaspoons vinegar and six teaspoons olive oil. Drizzle over each salad and serve.