I like composed salads. Especially when I have guests over because they are different and they impress. That said I also believe in stress free cooking so I want something that can be done in advance. This salad can be done ahead of time with the exception of a couple of steps. I have been growing pimento peppers in my garden all summer and I am always looking for new ways to use them. Here, I roasted them right over the gas burner so they would roast quick and without over cooking. I like hazlenuts, too, it is just more often than not when I buy them at the store they are rancid. I bought some the other day and got lucky. You have to go the distance though and roast those also. Remember, done in advance. —thirschfeld
small pimento peppers or 2 red bell peppers
red onions, peeled, root end in tact and cut into 6 pieces each from root to stem, this is so they will stay together when cooked, you should have 12 wedges
When you have time roast the peppers over direct flame and char them. Place them in a container with a lid and let them rest for 20 minutes. Once they have cooled peel them and then put a slit in one side and reach in with a finger and remove the seeds. If you are using red bell peppers cut them into wedges leaving the seeds behind. (if you don't have gas burners use your broiler with the top rack put as close to the burner as you can get it.)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the hazlenuts onto a sheet tray and roast them for 12 minutes. Remove them from the oven and dump them into a clean dish towel and fold the corners of the towel to the center. Using the palm of your hand roll the nuts around with enough pressure to remove the skins.
In a saute pan add enough canola oil to coat the pan. Place the pan over medium heat and then place the onion wedges flat side down into the oil. Once they start to simmer cook them until they are good and caramelized and then turn them to the other flat side and brown it. When they are done remove them from the heat to cool.
In a small bowl whisk together the oils and balsamic vinegar. Season it with salt and pepper.
To plate: Place the peppers and onions on the plate. Drizzle each with some dressing. Crush some of the hazlenuts and and spinkle them around and then a couple of whole nuts. Twist and drape the prosciutto around the peppers and onions and then shave big thin hunks of cheese onto the salad. Season with salt and pepper and serve.