Insalata’s Serrano Ham, Pears and Haricot Vert Salad with Valdeón Cheese

In the spring, Insalata’s restaurant in San Anselmo serves this composed salad with ripe Bosc pears, while in the fall it might use figs or persimmons. Organic arugula or escarole is a great substitute for the frisée and a gorgonzola may be substituted for the Valdeón.

8 paper-thin slices serrano ham or prosciutto
8 ounces haricots verts, trimmed and blanched for 3 minutes
2 firm, ripe Bosc pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
Leaves from 1 small head frisée lettuce
1/2 cup chopped marcona almonds


Valdeón Cream
1/2 cup Valdeón cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Sherry Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons hazelnut oil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For the Valdeón cream: Combined the cheese and cream into a blender or food processor. Blend until just smooth. Stir in the salt and pepper. Transfer the cream to a squeeze bottle. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the sherry vinaigrette: Combine the shallot, vinegar and salt in small bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk in the honey, mustard and oils. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Assemble the salad by placing 2 slices of ham on each of 4 plates.  In a medium nonaluminum bowl, combine the blanched haricots verts, pear slices, frisée leaves, almonds and 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette. Toss gently and mound on top of the ham. Drizzle with the Valdeón cream and serve immediately.

Serves 4 as a first course.

Organic Marin: Recipes from Land to Table

Written and photographed by Tim Porter and Farina Wong Kingsley, and produced by Marin Magazine, this is a seasonal cookbook that celebrates the organic farmers and ranchers of Marin County. Flavor will feature a recipe from Organic Marin each month. The book can be purchased at local bookstores or by going to