This is an exciting post for two reasons; the first is that today is actually my birthday, hooray (the big 2-4)! The second reason is that this is a recipe that I have developed for a contest!
About a week ago, I received an email from Julie, a representative from Legends from Europe, about a Market Basket Recipe Contest for Bloggers. Legends from Europe is a campaign funded by the European Union to increase awareness of five Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) products (2 meats and 3 cheeses)- Prosciutto di Parma, Prosciutto di San Daniele, Grana Padano, Montasio, and Parmigina Reggiano. Entrants we able to specify if they wanted to develop a recipe using a meat or cheese, but not the particular product.
I was immediately interested in the contest as these are all products that I use regularly (in fact, Julie asked me to participate based on my recipe for Spanish Varillas). I sent my email in requesting a prosciutto, hoping for Prosciutto di San Daniele. Prosciutto di San Daniele is sweeter and darker in color than Prosciutto di Parma, and best enjoyed as is, with no cooking, in order to pick up on all of its flavor subtleties (unlike Prosciutto di Parma which takes to cooking far better). I immediately started developing a recipe (even though I had no idea whether or not I would get the prosciutto I hoped for, which was crucial to my dish). I was extremely relieved and excited when I got my assignment back and it read “Prosciutto di San Daniele.”
This recipe was actually inspired by another recipe on my blog- Fennel Slaw with Pistachio-Parsley-Thyme Pesto, Prosciutto di Parma, and Parmigiana Reggiano. I very much enjoyed the way the fennel and prosciutto complemented each other, and was itching to try a slightly sweeter and lighter version.
I added SweeTango apples to the fennel base to add a sweet and fruity element. I switched up the Pistachio Pesto for a Tarragon Vinaigrette which is lighter and allows the star of the dish, the San Daniele Prosciutto, to really shine. I opted for tarragon because I knew its anise-y, liquorice-y notes would complement and bolster those same flavors in the fennel. The Taleggio cheese adds a soft and creamy component that pairs beautifully with the fresh, vibrant produce. The toasted hazelnuts add both a sweet, buttery, nutty flavor, and a nice textural contrast to the entire dish. I served the salad with some Grissini, which is totally optional, but totally delicious!
While it may seem at first sight that the Prosciutto di San Daniele is just another ingredient in a long list, a single bite will tell you that each and every ingredient was chosen to complement the sweet, salty, buttery, soft, and aromatic San Daniele in a unique manner.
I urge you to try this salad! It comes together in almost no time, and it keeps beautifully in the fridge or as a packed lunch. I keep the hazelnuts, prosciutto, and taleggio separate from the dressed fennel-apple mixture until serving.
Tarragon Fennel-Apple Salad with Prosciutto di San Daniele and Taleggio
yields 4-8 servings (depending upon whether it is served as an appetizer or entree)
- 4 fennel bulbs, halved, cored, and very thinly sliced (using a mandoline makes this quick and simple)
- 2 SweeTango apples, halved, cored, and sliced into thin matchsticks (again, this is achieved easiest using a madoline)
- zest of 1 lemon
- Tarragon Vinaigrette (recipe below)
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
- 1/4 lb Taleggio cheese, cut into small cubes
- baby arugula, to garnish
- 1/2 lb very thinly sliced Prosciutto di San Daniele
- Grissini, to serve (optional)
- Combine the fennel, apple, lemon zest, and vinaigrette in a large bowl. Toss to coat. Taste, and season as necessary with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the dressed fennel-apple mixture to your serving platter. Sprinkle the hazelnuts all over the top. Arrange the Prosciutto di San Daniele around the outside of the serving platter. Top the salad with a small handful of arugula, followed by the Taleggio cubes.
- 1 1/2 tbsp tarragon vinegar*
- 1/2 tsp tarragon dijon*
- 1/2 tsp really grainy mustard (I used Kozlik’s Triple Crunch)
- 1 tbsp minced shallot
- 1 tbsp chopped tarragon (mine looks as if it has been run over by a car, haha)
- 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup grape seed oil
- salt and pepper
- In a small bowl, add all of the ingredients except for the oil and salt and pepper. Whisk to combine.
- In a slow steady stream, whisk the oil into the mixture. The dressing should look sort of creamy and smooth, like in the photo below (we want an emulsification here). Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
*If you don’t have/can’t find the tarragon vinegar or tarragon mustard, you can substitute white wine vinegar and regular dijon; however, you should slightly increase the amount of tarragon that you add to the dressing.
EDIT: I actually won my category for the contest! Yippee!!! Check out the other winners by clicking on the image below: