Jackie took me to one of her favorite spots for lunch recently, Le Pain Quotidien. I like to think I am a pretty evolved guy, but she and I know that this restaurant is more her speed than mine. Their healthy, light, and organic fare is not always enough to satiate this midwestern boy’s appetite. Much to my surprise, however, we made a discovery that day that I have not been able to forget: Arugula, White Bean & Prosciutto Salad.
It was a Saturday at brunch time, and we picked a nice table near the window, perfect for people watching. We were given menus, and my skeptical instincts lead me to a frittata (as it sounded like the most hearty selection). Jackie ordered one of her favorites: arugula, white bean & prosciutto salad, which is served with a basil pesto and Parmesan cheese. The breadbasket came; we dug in, embraced the view, and enjoyed some conversation. When the waiter arrived with our food, I immediately knew I had made the wrong choice. This salad, which I thought would be too “light and girly”, turned out to be a beautiful dish, overflowing with flavorful arugula, protein-packed beans, salty prosciutto, and freshly shaved parmesan. My girl saw the look on my face and insisted that we share both meals (because that’s just the kind of person she is), and I couldn’t say no. You can imagine by now how the rest of story goes: I devoured the salad, then we stopped at the market on the way home to purchase all the ingredients I needed to make my own version. I have to say that I have made this arugula salad at least five times since that day. It is healthy, delicious, and filling! All of this from a “healthy, light and organic” restaurant? Who am I to judge?
- 4 ounces fresh arugula
- 1 C rinsed canned white kidney beans
- ½ C shaved Parmesan cheese
- 2 oz sliced prosciutto
- 2 C fresh basil
- 1 clove Garlic
- ½ C Olive oil
- ½ C pine nuts
- 1 French baguette
- To make the Pesto:
- In a food processor, blend garlic, basil, pine nuts, ¼ c parmesan cheese until combined.
- Slowly add olive oil and purée until desired consistency
- To assemble salad:
- Place arugula in bowl and add dressing and toss using tongs.
- Add beans and toss.
- Transfer to plate and top with sliced prosciutto and remaining cheese.
- Grind black pepper to taste on top.
- Serve with sliced baguette