…with Grilled Asparagus, Grilled Melon & Arugula Salad with Chipotle Fig Butter Vinaigrette

by Lara Miller

Oh … hi, June. Where the hell did you come from? And how did you creep up on us so fast?

At any rate, she’s here and it’s time to rock your body right.

And so, for me to rock all y’alls bodies right, I feel like it’s time for me to share a salad recipe with my lovely San Diego peeps.

Because salads are so chic and so grown up nowadays, aren’t they?

There are all kinds of lovely and exotic things that are invading our salads.

Every type of fruit imaginable is acceptable to go into a salad now, both dried and fresh.

There are also things that you never thought ought go in a salad.

Like, I’ve even seen edible flowers on salads. I’ve never had one, but I’m pretty sure the only time you should be eating a flower is if you’re a bug or a caterpillar or a 3-year-old.

But that’s just me.

Salads have definitely come a long way from the days we were young.

I can remember going out to eat with girlfriends in high school and most of them would order a salad for lunch.

I never did, though.

I just could never bring myself to order a bowl of lettuce and veggies when I went out to a restaurant with friends.

It’s like, what’s the point? I needed some real food if I was expecting to keep satisfied for more than an hour.

Anyway, I remember the salads almost always having a few ladlefuls of some white, creamy dressing on top, and there was always some bacon bits nestled in every bite (‘member bacon bits?), and of course, everyone’s favorite, the cardboard croutons.

And the girls would be like, “Oooo, look at me, I’m so healthy! I’m eating a salad for lunch because I’m on a ‘diet.’”

OK, well, I guess “healthy” can be considered a relative term.

Because we all know that the white and creamy diet ain’t the healthiest kind of diet.

Well, I guess some white and creamy things could be considered healthy …

Yogurt! I was thinking yogurt! OK, you know what, that’s enough.

Anyway, I’ve created this hearty and healthy salad that is a meal in and of itself.

It’s got big succulent shrimp wrapped in salty prosciutto, and throwing it on the grill is the perfect way to welcome summertime.

I’ve also grilled the asparagus and the melon, which gives everything a whole other dimension of flavor.

And the smoky and slightly spicy chipotle pepper with the sweet, rich fig butter in the vinaigrette is a perfect complement and works so well with all the grilled flavors in this salad.

I mean, I know this recipe has a long detailed name that probably scares the “beep” out of you, but trust me that it couldn’t be easier.

Not to mention, it’s a really fabulous dish to get yourself into the groove and ready for another gorgeous San Diego summer!

June is the ringleader of the summer months and makes me think of backyard BBQs, outdoor dinners and sparkly drinks. And this salad is perfectly paired with all of those things.

It involves the grill, some fruit and some greens.

And of course, some prosciutto.

That’s a winner winner all on its own.

So grab a glass of something bubbly and get ready to welcome this summer girl with open arms!

FOR THE GRILL: SHRIMP

1 lb. 15-20 count shrimp, peeled & deveined, but leave the tails on for presentation

15-20 slices Prosciutto di Parma

(one slice of prosciutto per shrimp)

Extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Fresh cracked pepper

TIP: I prefer to buy Prosciutto di Parma. It’s a little pricier than the other prosciutto out there but really worth it.

01 Season the shrimp very lightly with salt and some fresh cracked pepper. Remember, the prosciutto is salty, so you don’t want to over salt your shrimp, so go light!

02 Wrap each shrimp in a slice of prosciutto, drizzle with a little olive oil and place on a hot grill, about medium high.

03 Grill the first side for about three minutes, depending on how hot your grill is. You want to get some nice color on the prosciutto, so don’t move the shrimp around once you’ve placed it on the grill. It’s ready to flip when you see the shrimp start to turn pink and they start to curl a bit.

04 After about three minutes, flip your shrimp and grill the other side for about half the time you did the first side, about 1-2 minutes. Just make sure the shrimp is curled and you have a nice sear on your prosciutto.

Remove from the heat and set aside.

FOR THE GRILL: ASPARAGUS & MELON

1 lb. asparagus, trim off the bottom one-third of the asparagus because it tends to be too fibrous

3-4 large slices of green melon, about a half inch thick

Extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Fresh cracked pepper

01 Toss the asparagus and melon with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

02 Place the asparagus on the hot grill that you pulled the shrimp off of and grill until tender but still firm, about five minutes, on medium high heat.

03 About halfway through cooking your asparagus, place the melon on the grill and grill quickly until you see nice grill marks, about three minutes.

TIP: Don’t move the melon around. It’s super sensitive so just a quick sear to achieve some nice grill marks and you’re done.

04 Flip and do the same to the other side.

Remove the asparagus and the melon.

05 Cut the asparagus in thirds and dice the melon into little cubes.

Place on the side with your grilled prosciutto wrapped shrimp while you make the vinaigrette and assemble the salad.


CHIPOTLE FIG BUTTER VINAIGRETTE

1 heaping tablespoon fig butter

(You can find this at Trader Joe’s. It has a rich fig flavor that is slightly sweet and decadent and you need to try it! There’s no butter in it despite the name.)

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons good balsamic vinegar

1 small chipotle pepper in adobo, chopped fine

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Fresh cracked pepper

01 Place the fig butter, chopped chipotle, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl.

02 Grab a whisk and slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking all the while, until everything is combined into a nice thick and luscious vinaigrette. It will be a thick and rich vinaigrette, so a little goes a long way!

SALAD INGREDIENTS

Arugula

White Spanish onion, thinly sliced

Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano

(or other hard cheese of your choice)

Toasted pine nuts

ASSEMBLY TIME:

Grab a bowl.

01 Throw in your pre-washed bag of arugula leaves.

02 Toss in your sliced asparagus, diced melon, thin sliced onion and toasted pine nuts, reserving a little of each to top your salad with for a nice presentation.

03 One spoon at a time, drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss.

04 Only put on enough dressing so the leaves are just barely coated. Don’t over dress it! It will become soggy and too weighed down. You want to keep the leaves nice and light!

05 Plate your salad and top with about three shrimp per person.

06 Drizzle a little more chipotle fig butter vinaigrette on top of each prosciutto wrapped shrimp, shave on some fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano and get after them babies.

This is a light yet super satisfying summer salad that will surely get you in the mood to kick off summer 2015 proper!