Spring Lettuce with Pastrami Croutons & Balsamic Reduction

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Salad with Pastrami Croutons

This salad recipe is simple and springy, but you have to follow a few rules. Balsamic vinegar will sweeten when reduced and it will also intensify in flavor, so you want good-quality balsamic — not generic or cheap brands — for your balsamic reduction. Avoid using uncoated copper or aluminum pans which can alter the flavor of the vinegar. Remember that vinegar can thicken quickly, but you can always add water to bring it back to desired consistency.

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 6 ServingsServings

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound chunk of pastrami, cubed
  • 1 cup Bartenura balsamic vinegar
  • 6 cups spring lettuce mix or favorite salad greens
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper

Preparation

1 Heat ¼ cup of oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Using tongs and working in batches, fry the pastrami in a single layer until crisp and deep dark red, almost blackened, about 7 to 9 minutes. Drain on paper towels, and let cool slightly.

2 Pour balsamic vinegar into a skillet that has preheated for a couple of minutes over medium-high heat.

3 Bring the vinegar to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and allow it to simmer, thicken and reduce. Stir or whisk the vinegar occasionally as it simmers to prevent burning.

4 Remove the pan from the heat when the vinegar has reduced to about 1/3 of a cup and is syrupy. Allow the vinegar to sit a few minutes more; it will continue to thicken.

5 Toss the greens with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large salad bowl. Crumble the pastrami into bits by hand or chop with a knife. Top the salad with the pastrami-fry. Drizzle with balsamic reduction and salt and pepper to taste. Serve any extra pastrami-fry in a dish on the side so people can add more if desired.

As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine (Spring 2013) - Subscribe Now