Cheddar, Apple, and Crispy Prosciutto Salad with Pecans and a Rosemary-Maple Vinaigrette

Apples and cheddar cheese are like PB&J; a classic couple that never gets old. Apples happen to be at their peak currently, so I could not resist celebrating the greatness that is apples and cheddar cheese with this salad!

How do you make this classic combo better? Add crispy prosciutto, duh! All it takes is a quick bake in the oven to turn chewy, soft prosciutto into shatteringly crisp bacon-but-honestly-better.  

Pecans add crunch. I love the flavor they add to this salad, savory but delicate and buttery. I keep them raw because it helps preserve the nutrients and avoids oxidizing the fats, but feel free to toast if you like. 

The salad is tossed in a simple but super tasty dressing made with apple cider vinegar (gotta keep the apple theme going!), olive oil, maple syrup, garlic, rosemary, and s&p. Maple syrup is such a fall-winter ingredient to me, and the sweetness really compliments the savory flavors of the salad. There is something so scrumptious about the tang of vinegar cut with the sweetness of maple syrup. The rosemary is the only herb used in this salad so it really shines and gives all the fall vibes (did you know it is still technically fall until 12/20 btw? Crazy!).

I love some kind of onion in almost all salads, but the shallots really benefit from a 15 minute soak in some ice water to remove the bite. Otherwise, they can overpower some of the less in-yo-face flavors. Try it next time you are adding serving onion raw – it really works!

I served this salad with spinach because I love spinach and cured pork together. Spinach has a nice thickness and slight bitterness that go well with everything. That said, sub any salad green you like or have on hand; although I would suggest more leafy varieties over something watery and crunchy like iceberg or romaine hearts. 


Cheddar, Apple, and Crispy Prosciutto Salad with Pecans and a Rosemary-Maple Vinaigrette

Servings: 2 small or 1 large

Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of lightly packed salad greens (I used spinach)
  • 2 ounces of thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 2 ounces of cheddar cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 apple, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 medium shallot, sliced and soaked in ice water for 15 minutes to remove bite (optional)
  • 2 ounces of pecans (I used raw)
  • rosemary-maple vinaigrette (recipe follows)

How-to:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Place prosciutto slices on baking sheet laying them in a single layer with as few overlaps as possible.
  4. Bake prosciutto slices in the oven for 5 minutes. Flip and return to oven. Cook until darkened and fragrant, about 3-5 minutes more.
  5. Remove prosciutto and place on paper towels to absorb excess oils. Prosciutto will become crispier as it cools. 
  6. While the prosciutto is cooking and cooling, put together the salad by placing your greens of choice in a large bowl. Top with cubed cheddar, cubed apples, soaked and dried shallot slices, and pecans. 
  7. Break cooled prosciutto into pieces and add to salad.
  8. Top with vinaigrette, toss and serve. 

Rosemary-Maple Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Servings: makes about 1/4 cup, which is about as much as (or a little more than) you need for one large salad in the recipe above

Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup (use the real stuff!)
  • 1/2 clove of garlic, minced or grated with a microplane
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of black pepper

How-to:

  1. Add all ingredients to a small jar and shake to emulsify. 

Note: You can leave out the maple syrup if you are not eating sugar – I have and it is still delicious albeit tangier 😊.

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