This recipe, from "Impress for Less," is inspired by Jardinière on Grove Street in San Francisco. The restaurant's menu reflects a strong commitment to sustainability, featuring ingredients and products purchased from farmers, artisanal cheesemakers and fishermen. Hope Fox's "Impress for Less" (Wiley, $18.95) streamlines and simplifies 100 recipes from top restaurants from around the country.
7 ripe nectarines
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2 cups cold water
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lavender honey or regular honey
1 sprig thyme
3 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice or regular lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 heads Belgian endive, stem ends trimmed, heads separated intoleaves
1 bunch arugula, stems discarded, leaves well rinsed
8 fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
1 bunch fresh chives, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 pound sliced prosciutto
1/4 cup chopped Marcona or toasted almonds
Slice the nectarines in half and remove the pits. Place the pits and one chopped nectarine into a small saucepan with the water and sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat, lower the heat, and simmer until the liquid is reduced by three quarters and you have a thick syrup, about 15 minutes. Strain the mixture, discard the solids and set the syrup aside to cool.
Place the olive oil, honey and thyme in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and simmer for five minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pan and let the mixture steep for 15 minutes. Strain, discard the solids and return the sauce to the pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the nectarine syrup and the lemon juice and mustard. Whisk in the mixture of olive oil and honey. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Slice the remaining nectarines and add to the bowl with the Belgian endive leaves, arugula, half the mint, the chives and the shallot. Toss with the vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the salad on six individual plates, drape slices of prosciutto over the salad and garnish with the remaining mint and the chopped almonds.
Note: Marcona almonds are large, naturally sweet almonds that are native to Spain.