I know people don't like salads in the winter. I am one of those people. But this salad is a hearty salad that will warm you up on even the coldest of days.
This is a salad I will often order from Le Pan Quotidien. Yes, Le Pan is a chain, but it is one of the few chains that doesn't actually feel too much like a chain and it's one of the few chains in Manhattan that finds its way out of Midtown and in to other neighborhoods in the city. It is a communal table boulangerie and patisserie with a selection of soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts. And thanks to Mayor Bloomberg and his hatred of fats, trans fats, and salt, which he is trying to ban from every restaurant in the city, I know that this salad contains 420 calories.
I decided that I love this salad so much, I wanted to start making it at home. And for the price of one salad at Le Pan, I could make it 5 times at home. For 60 less calories (if my iPhone math serves me correctly). Holla!
When making salads, I often like to season every single component of the salad separately. I will add salt and pepper to the greens (something that is often overlooked in the seasoning process but adds huge flavor when done) and then to the white beans. Don't tell Bloomberg.
I toss peppery arugula with some homemade pesto with my hands. Yes, they do smell like pesto afterwards, but the best way to mix a salad is by hand to ensure that it is not overdressed. Garlicky hands be damned! Then, I add thin strips of tender and salty prosciutto, slices of sharp parmesan cheese, creamy white beans, and top it with some homemade croutons (the best type of croutons, in my opinion). This is a salad I could eat winter, spring, summer or fall (all you have to do is call and I'll be there, yes IIIII will . You got a friend... doo doo do dooo).
Oh, and I apologize for the poor photos. I was having major lighting problems. Daylight savings time can't come fast enough.
Tuscan White Bean and Prosciutto Salad (makes 1 salad)
1 loosely packed cup fresh arugula
1/3 cup cooked (or canned) white beans such as Great Northern or Cannelini
2 slices thinly sliced prosciutto
1/2 oz thinly sliced parmesan
1 tablespoon pesto
1 or 2 slices fresh white country bread, crusts removed (if you don't have bread or don't want to make your own croutons, store bought is ok)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350F. Tear the bread into large pieces (size or conformity doesn't matter. I can look rustic). Brush with extra-virgin olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until the bread is golden brown. Set aside and let cool.
Season greens with salt and pepper. Add pesto and toss to coat.
In a separate bowl, season white beans with salt and pepper and add to the salad. Shred the prosciutto into pieces and add prosciutto and parmesan to the salad. Add croutons and serve.