Slices of prosciutto topped with a salad of
baby arugula and watercress, topped with
Parmigiano-Reggiano. Photo courtesy Olio e
Piú | NYC.
When you hear the words “ham salad,” you think of diced ham, possibly the leftovers from a holiday ham or Sunday dinner.
Diced or minced ham is mixed with diced bell pepper, celery and onion or other favorite raw vegetables; perhaps with some hard-boiled eggs, boiled potatoes, pickle relish or green peas; and bound with mayonnaise (we use a mayo-Dijon blend).
It’s one of those traditional Anglo-American sandwich salads, along with chicken salad, egg salad and tuna salad.
It’s also served sans bread on a bed of green salad ingredients, perhaps with a scoop of another protein salad or a starch-based salad such as potato salad, macaroni salad or chopped vegetable salad.
But there’s another, more sophisticated way to serve ham salad: as a first course with prosciutto or Serrano ham.
Prosciutto, or Parma ham, is classically served as a first course with melon in Italian cuisine.
At Olio e Piú in New York’s Greenwich Village, the chef takes a different direction, adding a salad of vinaigrette-dressed bitter greens (we like baby arugula, watercress or a mix) atop the prosciutto and topping it with some fresh-shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
WHAT ARE BITTER GREENS
Bitter greens are part of the larger family of leafy greens, which include the lettuces, known as “sweet greens.” The bitterness can be mild or strong. Greens harvested earlier in the season tend to be less bitter than more mature plants harvested later.
Many bitter greens are dark green in color, although some are pale (endive, frisée) and some are red or have red accents (amaranth, chard, radicchio). If you like your veggies, you’ve likely had more than a few of these: