Ad Hoc Salad of Figs, Green Beans, Prosciutto, Walnuts & Potatoes

I have never been to Thomas Keller's restaurant in Northern California called Ad Hoc, though I would like to go someday soon!

If you don't have his cookbook with the same name, you are missing out.
It's a big book, too big and heavy to casually leaf thru, but every recipe is great.

Here I made his fresh fig salad w/ green beans, ham and potatoes from the book.
Sounds weird, I know, but paired w/ the ham, it's a wonderful seasonal salad.

He wants you to use pata negra (black hoof Spanish ham), but good luck finding it here, and get ready to open your wallet if you do, because the price is a bit high.

I would suggest a good quality prosciutto or speck instead, or even bacon would your money for the figs. :)

As with all of his recipes, the steps are a bit time consuming (you will see what I mean), so feel free to just boil the potatoes if you don't want to make an herb sachet, and you don't have to dry the beans on a rack, you get the picture.

But I followed all the steps in the book (for a change), like a good little girl, and the salad came out lovely.
Perfect on a hot summer night w/ a glass of white wine, and perfect for company.

Here's how: (adapted from Ad Hoc Cookbook)

1 lb. haricot vert (skinny green beans)
5 ripe figs (any variety), quartered
handful of walnuts, lightly toasted
1/4 red onion, sliced
3 radishes, sliced skinny
6 Yukon gold potatoes, sliced 1/4"
(sachet for boiling the potatoes: 1 bay leaf, 1 smashed garlic clove, 1 sprig rosemary, 10 peppercorns)
6 slices of good quality prosciutto, speck or pata negra (if you dare!)

Boil the green beans in salted water for 3 minutes only. Discard the sachet and transfer the beans to a bowl of ice water to set the green color and cool the beans down.

In a saucepan, heat the sachet (or drop in the garlic, rosemary, bay leaf and peppercorns free standing, like I did!), and cook the potatoes in the boiling water for 10 minutes. It smells really good, not sure if it imparted much flavor to the potatoes....who knows.
Remove the beans to a bowl w/ a slotted spoon.

Make a vinaigrette w/ 1/4 cup of sherry wine vinegar (or red wine vinegar), 1/4 cup of olive oil, sea salt, and 1 tbsp of honey. Throw in some shallots or chives, if you have them and whisk up to make a nice vinaigrette.

Assemble the ham slices on a large platter, and plate w/ scattered potato slices and green beans.
Place fig quarters in a decorative fashion (so fancy), and throw on the walnuts and red onion slices and radishes.

Just before serving pour some of the vinaigrette over the salad and taste to adjust seasonings.

This would be delicious with goats cheese, or hard boiled egg the next day for lunch!