Crunchy textures with lingering salty notes, this Prosciutto Salad with sweet pears and delicious Jerusalem artichoke is perfect to kick start a night of delicious grazing.
Why I Love Jerusalem Artichoke, Pear and Prosciutto Salad
A night of delicious grazing with friends is my kind of night. Red wine, quality cheese, duck pate, fine cured meats, fresh dips, salty olives and sour pickles. Conversations bubbling everywhere. Seriously. Pretty good, hey?
With a grazing platter, sometimes it can be overwhelmed with meats, cheese and other scrumptiously rich nibbles. This salad is a perfect wingman to balance that.
The crunchy taste of Jerusalem artichokes and pears with the slightly bitter taste of rocket, adds freshness and helps cut through the richness of the platter.
What Is Jerusalem Artichoke?
Also known as a sunroot, this funny looking root vegetable has nothing to do with the place Jerusalem nor is a relative of the globe artichoke. Growers just like to confuse you. Ha.
Jerusalem artichoke is a perennial sunflower native to North America. It is the root of this plant that we eat.
The tubers are long, uneven with knobbly parts, resembling a ginger root. Can be eaten cooked or raw in many Jerusalem artichoke recipes. Deliciously sweet and nutty.
It’s not 100% sure how the plant got the word Jerusalem in its name but early Italian settlers in North America, called the plant girasole, the Italian word for sunflower, which may have then changed over time.
How to Cook Jerusalem Artichoke For Salads?
Similar to the potato, Jerusalem artichokes can be roasted, boiled, mashed and fried.
However, it can also be eaten raw in salads adding extra crunch. I am also quite happy to have cut thick slices and eat with fresh dips (just like carrot sticks). It’s mild sweet taste is compatible with many different flavours.
Pretty much where you can use potato, you could substitute for Jerusalem artichokes as it has similar consistency but with a nuttier and sweeter taste. It is also less starchy which makes it less in calories.
However, it does contain inulin which is known to cause extra wind in the bowels (ha, you have been warned!)
It is normally sown in late Spring and then harvested in Autumn in Australia. Making it perfect for many autumn roasts, soups and salads. You can store it for up to 10 days in a cool place.
Popular Jerusalem artichoke recipes would include roasted with skin on and served with lamb roast. Or try it in a creamy nutty soup with warm bread. And of course raw Jerusalem artichoke slices in delicious salads!
How much does it look like ginger??
What’s the Difference Between Prosciutto and Pancetta?
When it comes to Italian cured meats, we are often get confused with prosciutto and pancetta. Possibly due to the similarity to the names for us non-Italians. However, they are quite different.
Prosciutto is salt cured ham, normally using the hind legs of the pig, that is air-dried for months or years before eating. It is served thinly sliced as the meat can be tough if served thick.
Prosciutto can be eaten raw or cooked. Popular prosciutto recipes include tomato and prosciutto bruschetta, rocket and prosciutto pizza or pasta with mushrooms and prosciutto.
Pancetta on the other hand is seasoned salt-cured pork belly (just like bacon but not smoked) rolled and hung up to dry. Pancetta is often cut into small chunks, fried off until crisp to add depth and flavour to many dishes like pasta, vegetables, soups and salads.
Some versions can be eaten raw, thinly sliced and added to your antipasto platter.
Can you substitute one for the other?
Um, personally I rather not. Pancetta has higher fat content so when you cook it, the fat renders delicious salty flavours into the pasta, soup or meat you are cooking with.
In my opinion, prosciutto is better eaten raw on antipasto, grazing platters or salads. The deep rich flavours of prosciutto from a long cure is hard to beat.
How to Make Jerusalem Artichoke, Pear and Prosciutto Salad
How to Peel and Cut Jerusalem Artichoke
For this Jerusalem artichoke salad you will need to peel the skin first. It does however, oxidise quickly. So to avoid the vegetable from turning brown, the easiest way I find is to add a good pinch of salt to a bowl of cold water and have it ready before cutting.
Give the Jerusalem artichokes a good wash and then using a teaspoon peal the vegetable.
As it is a knobbly vegetable like ginger, by using a teaspoon you can get around the crevasses more easily. However, I wouldn’t worry too much if you can’t peel all of the skin off. The skin is edible. Just make sure you have it washed well and there is no dirt.
Once peeled, add to the cold water as you continue to peel the others.
Thinly slice the Jerusalem artichoke and place back into water until ready to assemble. You can also use a flat grater and grate thin slices for the salad.
When ready to assemble, remove from water and pat dry with paper towels.
How to Make the Salad
Pear also turns brown quickly so by placing the cut fruit into bowl of lightly salted water straight away, it stops the oxidization. The pinch of salt doesn’t alter the taste much.
Alternatively you can squeeze some lemon juice in the water instead of using salt.
Cut pear into quarters, remove core. Then slice pear thinly and place into a bowl of salted cold water. When ready to assemble, remove from water and pat dry with paper towels.
If you love pears in general and wish to use it in your salads, check out our pear pairings for some inspiration.
Wash and rinse rocket leaves.
How to Roast Hazelnuts
Preheat the oven 180oC, line a sheet pan with baking paper. Spread the whole hazelnuts in one layer. Roast in oven for approximately 10-12 minutes or until the nuts are lightly toasted in colour.
Remove from oven and place in a clean tea towel and rub the hazelnuts together to remove the skins. If the skin doesn’t come off fully, that’s ok. Hazelnut skins can be bitter but when toasted it becomes more mellow.
The combination of flavours in this salad especially with dressing, the nutty taste of Jerusalem artichoke and sweetness of the pear can carry the slight bitterness of the hazelnut skin.
How to Make the Honey Seeded Mustard Dressing
A light vinaigrette with tang to help tie the salad together.
Mix all ingredients – olive oil, seeded mustard (also known as wholegrain mustard), honey, lemon juice and mix well.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
How to Assemble the Salad
In a large mixing bowl, place rocket leaves, pear and Jerusalem artichokes together. Add half the dressing and toss together.
In a large serving plate, layer prosciutto first, then tumble the dressed salad on top.
Shave the parmesan cheese on top using a peeler so you can get large shards of cheese.
Finally scatter hazelnuts and drizzle a little more dressing to finish.
You can easily prep all the ingredients earlier and then assemble when required. This prosciutto salad is a great starter to go with antipasto, warm bread and fresh dips. Alternatively serve with grilled meats.
For vegetarian options, leave out the prosciutto. The Jerusalem artichoke and pear will hold its own with rocket leaves as a great side salad.
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Jerusalem Artichoke, Pear and Prosciutto Salad
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- Peel and thinly slice Jerusalem artichokes. Place in a bowl of lightly salted water to stop it from turning brown. Set aside and pat dry with paper towels.
- Thinly slice pear and also add to lightly salted water.
- Wash and rinse rocket leaves. Set aside and pat dry with paper towels.
- Preheat oven to 180°C or 360°F and roast hazelnuts on a sheet pan for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven, place the hazelnuts in a tea towel and give it a good rub to remove skin.
- Mix olive oil, seeded mustard, honey, lemon juice ingredients in a small mixing bowl.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove pears from cold water, pat dry with paper towels.
- In a mixing bowl, add rocket leaves, pear and Jerusalem artichoke slices.
- Add half the dressing and toss together.
- On a large serving plate, layer prosciutto first and then tumble mixed salad on.
- Shave the parmesan cheese and scatter hazelnuts on top.
- Drizzle dressing to finish.
- If you’re thinking of not eating the Jerusalem artichoke raw, you can cook it. Similar to the potato, Jerusalem artichokes can be roasted, boiled, mashed and fried.
- For this recipe, we are eating the Jerusalem artichoke raw. To keep the Jerusalem artichoke and pear from oxidation, place them into a bowl of lightly salted cold water straight after cutting.
- The prosciutto salad can go with antipasto, warm bread and fresh dips. Alternatively serve with grilled meats.
- For vegetarian options, leave out the prosciutto. The Jerusalem artichoke and pear will hold its own with rocket leaves (arugula) as a great side salad.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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