This recipe is an attempt to sway my Dad to eat more greens; putting pork on a salad. This is very unlike my cooking of the past, most of which has consisted of roasted sweet potatoes and lentil salads. Pork is not something I would normally cook. Those who know me, know that I am quite health-conscious and have been for years. But “health-conscious” is not always necessarily “healthy”. Yes, for the most part I have eaten quite healthy, of course outside of my earlier college weekends which were predestined sugar feasts. Actually, it’s really easy to be health-conscious; most of our nation is. We are aware, thoughtful and sensitive to what we put in our bodies and how it makes us feel. But being genuinely healthy is an entirely differently thing.
I’m a very much all or nothing kind of person. I’m 100% in or 100% out. Which can be a good and, at times, a bad thing. I was either 100% engaged in school or 100% not. 100% thrilled about my next production or recital or 100% not. This might explain why most dating relationships were so short and sweet. Well, obviously not sweet enough.Yet this tendency easily could send me into extremes of obsessing a bit over what I thought was healthy and what I thought was not. And, I’m quite sure it didn’t make me any easier of a date to take out to eat; not that I’ve become completely low-maintenance now.
Back to the salad: I was 100% vegetarian and pushing vegan in many aspects. But, I could tell at one point my body was lacking the protein, my meals lacking some satisfying qualities. Or, I was at least conscious of it. Health conscious or not, I genuinely missed foods like savory cheese and crackers, slow-roasted chicken and the intoxicating taste of fennel seeds meeting sausage in simple pasta dishes. Following my conscience I decided I would try some protein in moderation. I would attempt a little moderation amidst the extreme food fixations.
I started by adding in some organic and locally-raised chicken, fish and eggs back to my diet. And, after cookbooks I’ve collected for Christmas, I’m much more eager to experiment a bit. As I have continued to consume plenty of vegetables, fruits and grains (accompanied by my new venture,) my meals quickly have become more appetizing and satisfying. All of it seasoned to add the quality of selective flavors, rather than mere quantities of excessive protein to my life. A little mustard and shallot glazed chicken, some grilled garlic-y tilapia and a little goat cheese sandwich here and there certainly completes, if not makes, a meal. I’m feeling more balance, satisfied and a little healthier, as well. Granted I know in a world awakened by genius author’s like Jonathan Safran Foer, another lost vegetarian seems like a sin, but, I must say ... it tastes right.
Apple Maple Prosciutto Salad
Serves 4 ( or 8 as a starter)
8 slices of prosciutto
2 or 3 fuji, honeycrisp or braeburn apples
5 -8oz of baby romaine
1/3 cup of maple syrup (plus 3 tsp. for dressing)
1/3 cup of olive oil
1/4 white whine vinegar
1 minced shallot
2 tbs of dijon mustard
fine sea salt
squeeze of lemon
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay prosciutto on parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with maple syrup and sprinkle with fresh black pepper. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until prosciutto is crispy. Brake each piece into 5- 8 pieces.
2. Combine all ingredients for the dressing (including the 3 tsp. of maple syrup) and mix well or blend in a food processor until emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Chop or slice apples just before serving salad. Drizzle apples with lemon juice to keep from browning. Place two to three endive over each serving of baby romaine.
4. Add desired amount of apples, crispy prosciutto pieces and serve the salad dressed well.