Make sure you remove not only the inedible rind but also any excess fat from the cooked country ham. The profound taste of that fat is just too strong, a poor match for the pears.–Bruce Weinstein | Mark Scarbrough
Although the authors call for cooked country ham, we find it works well with almost any cooked ham.
Arugula Salad with Country Ham, Pears, and Honey Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup walnut pieces
- 2/3 pound (about 4 cups) baby arugula leaves
- 6 ounces cooked ham rind removed and discarded, meat thinly sliced and cut into strips
- 1 large ripe Bartlett pear peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons toasted walnut oil (or, in a pinch, olive oil)
- Sprinkle the walnuts around a dry skillet set over medium-low heat. Leave them alone a couple minutes, then stir well and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, just until splotchy brown and fragrant. Pour them out onto a cutting board, cool for a few minutes, then chop into little bits.
- Mix the arugula, ham, and pear pieces in a large bowl.
- Whisk the lemon juice, vinegar, honey, and mustard in a small bowl, then whisk in the oil in a slow, steady stream until you’ve got a creamy, somewhat thick dressing.
- Pour the dressing over the arugula mixture, and then sprinkle the toasted walnut pieces on top.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This makes a fabulous substantial salad, enough for a meal. The saltiness of the country ham meshes so well with the meaty, aromatic toasted walnuts, slightly tart/sweet pears and the sweet/acidic honey apple cider vinaigrette. And the slightly bitter peppery arugula seals the deal rather nicely by adding yet another flavor dimension. I do not think you could improve upon this balance, except to perhaps add some chunks of gorgonzola and/or crispy pancetta instead of the country ham. Or maybe not. It is nearly perfect as is.
Originally published April 05, 2010