I first read about this combination of juicy peaches, rich prosciutto and peppery arugula in Michael Chiarello’s cookbook “Casual Cooking“. The cookbook was published in 2002 and is still pertinent 13 years later, offering recipes that are flavorful and delicious in addition to being easy to prepare. Michael Chiarello is a chef in Napa Valley, which is sometimes called the Tuscany of America. He is founder of the Tra Vigne restaurant in St. Helena. Recently a post I read on Fiesta Friday #71 for a “Grilled Nectarine and Arugula Salad” on Caroline’s Cooking triggered my memory, her recipe sounds delicious. I haven’t made Michael’s version in several years, it used to be a favorite because it is so versatile. Serve it as a first course (on individual plates), on a platter as part of a buffet, or even as dessert.
Use peaches, or nectarines, or a combination…I think even apricots would be wonderful.
Warm Peach and Prosciutto Salad with Arugula
- 1/4 lb. of thinly sliced prosciutto
- 1 lb. of peaches or combination of peaches (peeled) and nectarines, each cut into 8 wedges
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
- 4 cups loosely packed arugula, washed and dried
- Lay out the prsciutto on individual plates or a platter. Let it warm to room temperature.
- Place the sliced fruit in a bowl and add the salt and pepper (salt no more than 10 minutes before cooking or they will soften too much).
- Heat the butter in a large skillet and cook on medium until starting to brown.
- Add the thyme, and bay leaf to the skillet and warm for 30 seconds to flavor the butter.
- Add the peaches and balsamic vinegar, cook for an additional 30 seconds to warm.
- Turn off the heat and take the skillet off the burner, add the arugula and toss quickly just to wilt. Remove the bay leaf.
- Add the contents of the skillet to the platter of prosciutto.