|Los Angeles Times - latimes.com
April 6, 2005
The prosciutto wore a cunning disguise ...
By Carolynn Carreño, Special to The Times
These are good days for the lettuce-obsessed.
Salad greens used to be something to dress up — with smoked salmon, candied nuts, goat cheese, cherry tomatoes. A salad would no sooner be seen without some kind of recherché ingredient tossed in or worn proudly on top than it would go out to the table completely undressed.
But lately, L.A. chefs seem bent on sending out plates of unabashed, unadorned, perfectly dressed gorgeous greens. Unadorned, that is, till you stick in your fork and pull out a treat. Chefs these days are using heaps of delicate lolla rossa, tender baby lettuces or peppery young arugula to bury everything from prosciutto to braised vegetables to lobster carpaccio.
At Beechwood Restaurant in Venice, a so-called Italian parsley and escarole salad surprises any diner who neglected to read the fine print with a plate lined with thinly sliced prosciutto.Likewise, Beechwood's smoked salmon carpaccio is hidden under a mound of apple cider-dressed mizuna.
That's just one of the reasons this goods-on-the-bottom presentation makes sense. Brooke Williamson, partner and co-chef of Beechwood Restaurant, explains that she got the idea to lay the prosciutto directly on the plate because, were she to lay it on top of the greens, it would be impossible to cut.
So why does the prosciutto get the lesser billing at Beechwood? "I wanted the focus to be on the bright, fresh crispness of the greens," Williamson says.
Escarole and parsley salad
Total time: 20 minutes
Note: From Brooke Williamson at Beechwood
Juice of two lemons ( 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 small shallot, minced (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 thin slices Parma prosciutto ( 1/4 pound)
1 head escarole, washed and chopped into 1-inch pieces (8 cups chopped)
1 cup Italian parsley leaves (1 small bunch), washed and dried well
8 ounces burrata cheese
1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the lemon juice, sugar, shallot and oil, and season with salt and pepper.
2. Line the bottoms of four plates with two slices of prosciutto each (or line one large serving platter with all of the prosciutto).
Toss the escarole and parsley in the lemon vinaigrette and pile the greens on top of the prosciutto.
3. Sprinkle the cheese with additional salt, pull it into bite-size mounds with your fingers and place them around the greens and serve.
Each serving: 323 calories;
20 grams protein; 11 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 23 grams fat; 10 grams saturated fat; 70 mg. cholesterol; 647 mg. sodium.
Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times