I wasn’t going to serve a salad at Thanksgiving this year. It’s unnecessary really, with the amount of food that gets served. My husband would say that it just equals more plates to wash. But there is a comfort level for me, of sitting down for a few minutes and gathering my thoughts before serving the whole meal. This year was no different. I was super organized given how late I shopped for everything. Maybe it is because I have gotten more comfortable with hosting Thanksgiving over the years. But inevitably, something goes awry, and this year it was my new oven. At some point between heating up the cranberry sauce in the microwave (which doubles as a convection oven I have yet to use), and checking on the turkey in the regular oven, the display message on my oven panel decided to change. It wanted to know what my probing temperature was. The jokes ensued, but I wasn’t laughing. We couldn’t shut it off or cancel out of it. I mean really, now? My husband and my sister were hovering over the panel, and if I kept hearing that damn beep one more time I was going to lose it. It was like a button that said ‘press me‘ and that they did – over and over and over again. So I tried the circuit breaker and shut the oven down, only to be faced with it remembering what it was doing prior to being shut down when I reset the circuit. So I retreated to my office to look for the stupid user’s manual, but I couldn’t find anything on probing temperatures. I went downstairs to find my husband and my sister now with their heads in the oven, cracking jokes about looking for probes and if the probe looked big enough….I think the exact term was “prob-y enough”…shoot me now. I finally found one line in the manual – not on how to cancel out of this mess – but how to enter the non-existent probing temperature and hit bake, then off, and just like that, we were back to normal. My side dishes then got to finish heating up, and so it was time to sit at the table. I was so happy to just serve a nice salad that didn’t need to be heated or baked – just served. And I had my two minutes of sanity back.
prosciutto and goat cheese spirals (adapted from Bon Appetit)
8 oz. plain goat cheese
2 TB, plus 1/2 cup hazelnut oil
1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced and divided
2 tsp freshly grated lemon peel, divided
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
red pepper flakes
10-12 imported prosciutto (aiming for nice 3 inch wide by 7 inches long slices), thinly sliced
1 cup stemmed baby spinach leaves
3 TB sherry wine vinegar
3 TB shallots, minced
1 tsp sugar
10 cups red leaf lettuce, coarsely chopped and cleaned
get started on the salad:
note: I wash my chopped lettuce in the salad spinner and divide onto the 8 plates. I have been serving the dressing at the table so people can decide how much or how little they want. The original recipe calls for you tear the lettuce and dress the salad before serving. Either way is fine.
Coarsely chop the lettuce and clean in a salad spinner or colander. Dry on paper towels if needed. Divide lettuce onto 8 plates.
In a medium bowl, stir together the goat cheese, 2 TB hazelnut oil, 1/2 tsp of rosemary and 1 tsp of lemon peel. Season with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.
Place a sheet of plastic wrap on the counter. Place 1 slice of prosciutto in center of plastic wrap. (If slices are torn or too thin, add a second slice to add stability to the roll – which is a good reason to get more prosciutto than you need). Spread evenly, about 2 TB of goat cheese mixture over the prosciutto slice, covering as much as you can. Add a single layer of stemmed baby spinach on top of the goat cheese mixture. Place another slice of prosciutto on top of the layer of spinach. Repeat the cheese and spinach and prosciutto layers twice more, ending with a prosciutto slice. Starting at the long side, lift the plastic wrap up and over the layer to start rolling up jelly roll style. This can be done with quarter turns. Add a final slice of prosciutto, if needed, to cover the seam of exposed cheese and spinach. Wrap up tightly in the plastic wrap. Proceed with remaining prosciutto, cheese and spinach to make a second roll. Chill until firm, about six hours.
Whisk together the sherry vinegar, shallots, sugar and remaining rosemary, lemon peel and 1/2 cup hazelnut oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Unwrap rolls and slice each of the rolls into twelve spirals, about 1/2 inch thick. Place three rolls onto each of the eight plates of lettuce and serve with the dressing.
Everything was delicious; the chef/hostess was a tower of calm!