Watercress Salad with Prosciutto, Tangerines and Hazelnuts

This salad is an intriguing mix of strong flavors--sweet, peppery, earthy. The hazelnuts add richness, chef Govind Armstrong says, plus they "do their job as the texture police." He uses duck prosciutto here; it's easy to find in specialty-food stores, or you can substitute regular prosciutto.

 

Slideshow: Terrific Green Salads

 

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 8
KEY: Fall, Winter, Dinner Party, American, Italian, Salads, Fast, Make Ahead, Dinner, Lunch

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 4 tangerines or 2 navel oranges
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons hazelnut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon truffle oil (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 large bunches of watercress, thick stems removed
  • 1 3/4 cups loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves (from 1/2 bunch)
  • 3/4 pound thinly sliced prosciutto, preferably duck prosciutto

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the hazelnuts in a pie plate and toast for about 10 minutes, or until fragrant. Let the nuts cool slightly, then coarsely chop.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the tangerines, removing all the bitter white pith; if using oranges, peel with a sharp knife. Working over a large bowl, cut in between the membranes to release the citrus sections.
  3. In a bowl, whisk the sherry vinegar with the balsamic vinegar, honey, shallot and thyme. Whisk in the olive oil, hazelnut oil and truffle oil in a slow stream. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the watercress and parsley to the tangerine sections and toss. Add 1/3 cup of the dressing and toss well. Arrange the salad on a large platter; arrange the prosciutto decoratively around the salad. Sprinkle with the toasted hazelnuts and serve with the remaining dressing.

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared a day ahead through Step 3. Keep the hazelnuts at room temperature; refrigerate the oranges and dressing separately.

Suggested Pairing

Italy's Soave DOC, once mostly known for dull, mass-produced wines, has had a renaissance in recent years. Today it's making fresh, expressive wines that have both the richness to match the nuts and prosciutto and the tanginess to pair well with the tangerines.

Contributed By Photo © James Baigrie Published November 2005

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