Monday, March 21, 2011

Crispy Prosciutto, Asparagus and Ground Cherry Salad

Ground cherries have arrived in the markets of Quebec and they are a delicious addition to a spring salad. These small, orange fruits have a unique tomato and pineapple flavor. They grow with a husk around them similar to a tomatillo. Remove the husk and rinse them under water to easily wash away the residual stickiness on the skin.

This salad combines salty, sweet and sour ingredients to create a very tasty balance. The salty prosciutto is briefly roasted along with the asparagus then piled over the lettuces and ground cherries. It's finished with a drizzle of fresh lemon juice, olive oil and a sprinkling of black pepper. Serve as a light lunch or first course. Add some goat cheese and toasted pine nuts to bulk it up for a dinner salad.

1/2 bundle of asparagus, trimmed
4 slices of prosciutto
4 cups of mixed lettuces
1 cup ground cherries, halved
Juice from 1 lemon, to serve
Extra-virgin olive oil, to serve
Black pepper, to taste
Pine nuts, to serve (optional)
Goat cheese, to serve (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a single layer, spread the prosciutto slices and the trimmed asparagus. Trim the asparagus by snapping off the hard ends. The bottom of the asparagus can also be peeled with a vegetable peeler or knife for presentation purposes. Bake for 15 minutes.

Pile a cup of lettuce on a salad plate. Garnish with several of the halved ground cherries. Top with 1/4 of the asparagus and 1 slice of the crispy prosciutto, cut into bite sized pieces. Dress the salad with a light drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil. Crack black pepper over the salad to finish.

Optional: Over medium heat, toast the pine nuts in a non-stick skillet. Dress the salad with a portion of the nuts and a serving of your favorite goat cheese.

Serves 4 small salads

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Also, try my ground cherry and red chili jam alongside a pan-roasted chicken breast or pork fillet.


  1. I really want to try the ground cherries. I've never seen them or even heard of them until you mentioned them in a previous recipe. I'm on the prowl for them now.

  2. Try a farmer's market if you can't find them in the grocery store.