This salad is a brilliant combination of ingredients, from bitter dandelion greens and smoky paprika to sweet and chewy figs and ham. The most unusual touch is the finely grated almonds; the flecks imbue every bite of the salad with an intense nutty flavor. A microplane grater is the best tool to use here; to avoid cutting your fingers, discard the nub rather than grating each almond all the way down.
Terrific Green Salads
1/4 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon turbinado or raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup blanched, roasted almonds (3 ounces), preferably Marcona
3 ounces tender dandelion greens, large leaves torn into bite-size pieces
12 black or green fresh figs, halved or quartered if large
12 thin slices of serrano ham (about 4 1/2 ounces)
How to Make It
In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of the sherry vinegar with the sugar and simmer over moderate heat until syrupy and reduced to 1 tablespoon, about 8 minutes.
In another small saucepan, warm the paprika over moderate heat until fragrant, 15 seconds. Stir in the honey and the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons of vinegar and scrape into a bowl. Whisk in the olive oil. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.
Using a microplane grater, finely grate 1/4 cup of the almonds over a sheet of wax paper. In a large bowl, toss the dandelion greens with 1/4 cup of the dressing and transfer to a platter. Add the figs to the bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of the dressing, then arrange on the platter. Drape the serrano ham over the greens and scatter the whole almonds around the platter. Sprinkle the grated almonds over the serrano and drizzle with the sherry vinegar syrup. Serve the salad, passing the remaining dressing at the table.
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