warm mushroom salad

I went to the library and picked up Ina Garten’s cookbook, Back to Basics the other day. Just a few pages in and I had already decided that it was one of my favorite cookbooks.

Do you feel weird about warm salads? I did. As a salad lover (it’s true!), I’ve tried a bunch of variations, including warm, and the majority of those have gone under the “dislike” column. But this particular recipe files under “really loved it and can’t wait to make it again and again”.

Warm Mushroom Salad (adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics)
serves 2-3

12 oz. cremini mushrooms
1-2 tablespoons butter
4-6 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
A few handfuls of fresh arugula (about 4), washed and dried
2-3 slices of prosciutto
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
A handful of sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
Parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley
Salt and pepper

Clean the mushrooms by brushing the tops with a clean sponge (don’t soak in water) and slice.
In a large sauté pan, heat the butter and 2-3 tablespoons of the olive oil until bubbly.
Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper to the pan, and sauté for 3 minutes over medium heat, tossing frequently.
Reduce the heat to low and sauté for another 2 to 3 minutes, until cooked through.
Meanwhile, arrange the arugula on a large plate and cover with slices of prosciutto (I like to break them up into smaller pieces).
When the mushrooms are cooked, turn the heat off and add the vinegar and the remaining 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil to the hot pan. Mix and toss.
Spoon the mushrooms and sauce on top of the prosciutto.
Shave or grate Parmesan cheese and place on top of the hot mushrooms.
Sprinkle with the sun-dried tomatoes (I like to soak these in a bit of olive oil to soften before tossing on salad), parsley leaves, salt, and pepper, and serve warm.

This is going to be the salad I make when I want to impress my friends. I imagine a scenario where they’re leaning over the counter and watching me carefully pour the mushrooms and the vinaigrette over the bed of arugula. I’ll serve them in fancy bowls and they’ll “oooh!” and “aaah!” in between bites. I’ll feel really smug and self-satisfied that it took so little time and effort to make such a delicious and beautiful creation. They’ll tell me I’m the best and go home that night still thinking about that glorious salad.

Not sure if anyone else gets nerdy over salads, but you can try this one and let me know you’re opinion on the matter.

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