This year, my birthday fell on a Saturday.
And what better way to celebrate and spend an entire birthday weekend than in Newport, RI – a mere 70 miles (115 km) away from home, yet a world away from home.
I have so much to share and show you.
There is this house in Newport where it feels good to be lazy and do absolutely nothing.
A house where mornings are spent on the deck overlooking the ocean with a cup of tea and where the hydrangeas abound all around in multiple blueish and pinkish shades.
A house where you can sleep with the bedroom windows open and lull yourself to sleep with the sound of the waves crashing below.
A house where you can skip barefoot in the dewy grass to go shower under the early morning sky.
When my friends “L. and E.” invited me for the weekend, I didn’t hesitate.
I was told about the usual activities of the house and couldn’t wait to dive into this provincial way of life.
Farmers’ Market at 9:00am.
Cooking and eating outside.
Walks on the beach.
Reading and sunning.
Prolonged dinners on the deck around the table with friends and family.
The nutty arugula from the market proved to be an excellent choice for salads.
And my own personal discovery of ricotta salata gave me inspiration for a special birthday salad symbolizing this particular weekend in Newport.
How come I never tried ricotta salata before?
Je ne comprends pas.
It’s the first thing I bought on my way home to Boston. I couldn’t wait to make something with it.
A special lunch at Castle Hill was the perfect moment to capture and remember forever.
I don’t know if it was the view. Or the Champagne.
Or perhaps the oysters paired with a shaded sun under a big umbrella.
And as the waiters took away the last clam and oyster shells, the fishing boats followed by seagulls sailed by on their way to the docks.
Eventually, one has to say goodbye.
All good things come to an end.
A last Aperol Spritz on the deck.
A last tour of the green garden.
A last sunset.
But a salad to remember this birthday weekend all summer long.
A perfect combination of sweet and salty. Fresh and light.
Nutty arugula paired with nutty pistachio oil.
Sweet cantaloupe with raspberry vinegar.
Shriveled up tomato raisins with salty prosciutto.
And my ricotta salata, bien sûr !
Until next time Newport…
Arugula and Prosciutto Salad with Ricotta Salata, Cantaloupe and Tomato Raisins
for a vegetarian option, remove the prosciutto and replace with beets chunks for a similar color effect.
for the tomato raisins – make one day ahead!
The reason the tomato raisins need to be made one day ahead is because they need to be completely cold and chilled upon serving.
16 cherry tomatoes
1 Tbsp of olive oil
1 Tbsp of rosemary – chopped
sea salt and pepper
1 garlic clove – minced
Preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C).
In a small bowl, toss the tomatoes, olive oil, sea salt, pepper and rosemary. Make sure they are well coated.
Pour the tomatoes in a non-stick oven-proof skillet and cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes until roasted and shriveled like a raisin.
Place the tomato raisins in a bowl, toss with the minced garlic, cover and place in the fridge overnight.
for the vinaigrette
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp pistachio oil
2 Tbsp raspberry vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
cracked black pepper
In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, pistachio oil, raspberry vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper until combined and emulsified. Set aside.
(If you are sensitive to vinegar, add an extra 1 Tbsp of olive oil).
for the salad
3.7 oz (106 g) of baby arugula salad
0.5 lb (226 g) of cantaloupe – cut in small chunks (or balls if you have the proper tool)
8 slices of prosciutto – rolled and chopped
7 oz (200 g) of ricotta salata – crumbled
2 Tbsp rosemary – chopped
In a big bowl, combine the arugula, cantaloupe, prosciutto and ricotta salata.
Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and mix delicately until coated.
Divide the salad among 4 bowls. Sprinkle with rosemary. Add 4 tomato raisins in each bowl.