2 ratings

Hand of God Salad

It's heavenly
E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune; Shannon Kinsella/food styling

Soft, buttery garlic cloves scattered among leaf lettuce, roasted walnuts and capers helped make this the best salad I’ve ever eaten. Thin slices of prosciutto and a drizzle of calafate syrup sealed the deal. -JeanMarie Brownson

This recipe by JeanMarie Brownson was originally published in the Chicago Tribune


For the salad

  • 1/4 Cup garlic oil from buttery garlic cloves, see recipe
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Cup walnut halves
  • 6 heaping cups torn leaf lettuce or butter lettuce or a combination
  • 3 Ounces thinly sliced prosciutto or Westphalian smoked ham
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled, quartered lengthwise
  • 12 buttery-soft garlic cloves, see recipe
  • 3 Tablespoons drained, rinsed capers (or finely chopped green olives or cornichons)
  • Balsamic glaze (or berry syrup, calafate syrup or honey)

For the buttery-soft garlic cloves and garlic oil

  • 2 or 3 large heads garlic (or 5 ounces peeled garlic cloves)
  • 1/2 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 Teaspoon salt


For the salad

Step 1: Put 1/4 cup garlic oil in a small bowl; stir in 1 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Leave at room temperature.

Step 2: Heat a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add 1 cup walnut halves; toast, stirring often, until walnuts are lightly browned and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Step 3: Arrange 6 cups lettuce in the center of a large serving bowl. Arrange 3 ounces prosciutto around the edge of the dish. Arrange 2 quartered eggs around the lettuce. Sprinkle everything with the 12 garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons capers and walnuts. Drizzle with the balsamic glaze or one of its substitutes.

Step 4: To serve, drizzle the oil mixture over the salad. Toss to coat everything. Serve immediately.

For the buttery-soft garlic cloves and garlic oil

Step 1: If using heads of garlic, lightly pound 2-3 of them with a meat mallet to separate the cloves from the head. Use a paring knife to peel the garlic. You’ll have at least 24 cloves.

Step 2: Put peeled garlic into a small microwave-safe bowl. Add ½ cup water; partly cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Microwave on high (100 percent power) until garlic softens slightly, about 2 minutes. Drain off all the water.

Step 3: Add 1/2 cup oil to the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap vented at one corner. Microwave on high, pausing to stir once, until garlic is soft when the tip of a knife is inserted, 2 to 3 minutes. Let garlic cool completely in the oil. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Refrigerate the garlic and oil together, covered, up to 2 weeks.