Spinach Salad with Crispy Prosciutto, Pickled Red Onion, California Golden Raisins and Chèvre-stuffed Piquillo Peppers

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Pickled onions play a tasty role in this salad, where Chef Downs balances contrasting flavors and ingredients to create a delicious whole.


Sherry Wine Vinaigrette
1/4 cup (2 oz.) sherry wine vinegar
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. chopped garlic
2 tsp. fresh parsley
2 tsp. fresh chives
1/2 cup (4 oz.) extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Pickled Onions
2 cups rice vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. mustard seeds
2 red onions, sliced

Stuffed Piquillo Peppers
12 oz. chèvre
1 tbsp. chives
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. chopped parsley
1 tbsp. lemon zest
4 canned piquillo peppers, rinsed

2 cups California golden raisins
4 cups dry sherry wine
2 cups slivered prosciutto
1 cup Marcona almonds
1 lb. (3 cups) baby spinach, stemmed and washed


  1. Prepare Sherry Wine Vinaigrette: Combine all ingredients in jar with tight-fitting lid and set aside.
  2. Prepare Pickled Onions: In saucepan, simmer vinegar, sugar, bay leaf and mustard seeds. Blanch onions in hot water bath for 30 sec. While hot, drain and add to saucepan; set aside.
  3. Prepare Chèvre-stuffed Piquillo Peppers: Blend cheese with chives, seasonings, parsley and zest. Mix well; divide and stuff peppers with cheese mixture. Chill.
  4. Prepare Salad: Combine raisins and sherry in small bowl; set aside to plump for 1 hr. In dry skillet, fry prosciutto; drain excess fat and set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F and toast almonds for 10 min. or until very lightly browned and fragrant.
  5. To serve: Warm Vinaigrette for 20 sec. in sauté pan. Drain raisins and stir into pan; remove from heat. Combine spinach, vinaigrette, Pickled Onions and almonds in large mixing bowl; toss to combine. Add prosciutto. Divide salad among 4 bowls; top each with a piquillo pepper.
Source: Courtesy of the California Raisin Marketing Board

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