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Poached Quince Salad

Salty ham, buttery cheese, and rich almonds play up the delicate sweetness of the honey-poached quinces in this sweet-savory salad. For the best results, use Marcona almonds, which are fried salted almonds imported from Spain.

Serves 4


1 lb. quinces (about 2 medium)

2 Tbs. honey

2 strips lemon zest (each ½x2 inches)


4 cups mâche or baby arugula

4 oz. thinly sliced Serrano ham or prosciutto, cut into ¼-inch-wide ribbons

2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted, salted almonds

1 to 2 oz. firm, mild-flavored cheese, such as Manchego or Asiago, shaved into small pieces (using a vegetable peeler)

4 tsp. balsamic vinegar, preferably aged 12 to 25 years


Peel, quarter, and core each quince. Put the quinces, honey, and lemon zest in a 3-quart saucepan. Add enough water to cover the quinces by 1 inch (about 1½ quarts). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Put a plate or a lid that’s smaller than the saucepan on the quinces to submerge them. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the quinces are tender when pierced with a knife, about 45 minutes. Let them cool in the cooking liquid. (The quinces can be poached up to 2 weeks ahead. Refrigerate them in their liquid.)


Toss the mâche or arugula, ham, and olive oil in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the salad evenly among 4 plates. Slice the quinces and arrange on each plate. Sprinkle the almonds and cheese on top. Drizzle each salad with 1 tsp. of the balsamic vinegar.


It is a quote. Fine Cooking Magazine October / November 2011

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