I had this strange and bewitching little salad at Jaleo, a Spanish restaurant that’s part of Jose Andres's Washington D.C. empire. There are no earth-shattering techniques or unusual ingredients involved. Just some dried apricots plumped with sherry and Serrano ham cut into confetti-like cubes. After blanching the haricots verts you want to keep them warm, and toss them quickly with the ham and warm apricots. The heat of the beans should warm the fat in the ham so it helps flavor the salad. Simple dishes are all about this kind of detail.
salt, to taste
dried apricots (or fresh, sweet ones)
fino sherry (or whatever sherry you can find; a sweet one will work, too)
small green grapes
Granny Smith apple, skin on
1/8-inch-thick slice Serrano ham or prosciutto (about 1.5 ounces)
haricots verts or thin green beans, topped but not tailed
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, place the apricots in a bowl and pour over the sherry and 1/2 cup boiling water (yes, you can take it from the pot of boiling water!). Let the apricots sit and plump while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Thinly slice the grapes. Cut the apple into 1/8-inch cubes. Do the same with the Serrano ham. Drain the apricots, and cut each of them into 6 pieces.
Add the haricots verts to the boiling water and cook until tender but still crisp in the center, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain (do not run under cold water) and transfer to a large bowl – or just add back to the empty and still-warm pot. Sprinkle in the apricots, grapes, apple, ham, chives, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and the olive oil. Toss well using your hands or two large spoons. Taste and add more vinegar and salt as needed. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.