Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Serving Up {Salad}: Spinach, Pear, Prosciutto and Gorgonzola with a Balsamic Vinaigrette

What a difference the sun makes!  For months I have been stuck taking photos of the dishes I've made using a flash but summertime has FINALLY arrived in the Northwest and my photos look much more appealing in natural light!  No guarantee how long this blessing will last.  The comment I heard from a friend regarding our weather was, "it's so nice that summer fell on a weekend this year".  Sad but true!

I love gourmet salads and never tire of trying new salad combinations with homemade dressings.  When I discovered this salad I immediately knew I would love it and I was right.  When we lived in Vegas there was a restaurant called Sammy's Wood fired Pizza (it's a chain with locations also in Southern California).  The menu offered many unique pizza combinations and I don't believe I ever had one that I didn't adore, but I did have a favorite...Sammy's Organic Arugula and Pear.  It was a pizza topped with proscuitto, pear and gorgonzola and after it came out of the oven it was topped with an arugula salad dressed in a balsamic dressing.  If ever you visit Sammy's please order this pizza!

This salad is a delightful (crustless) version of that pizza.  And it makes me very happy.  I hope it makes you happy too.


16 ounces baby spinach
2 pears
4 ounces Gorgonzola
4 slices prosciutto, baked crispy and broken into large pieces
1/2 cup candied walnuts or pecans

Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl or prepare individual salads on salad plates.  Dress with Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing.

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing:
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. dijon mustard
1/2 Tbs. shallots, minced
1/2 Tbs. garlic, minced
salt, to taste
ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup canola oil

Combine all ingredients except oils in blender base.  Blend until all ingredients are well combined.  Slowly add oils, mixing until all the ingredients are thoroughly blended and lightly emulsified.

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