BABY ARUGULA, PARMESAN & CRANBERRY SALAD

Simple yet elegant, spicy and sweet. Harvested young with petite tender leaves and more mild tasting than its full grown self, baby arugula is delicate without being boring. Never skip a cold water soak before using greens. This is most satisfying when greens are picked locally and farm to table is taken to heart. Choose a mildly buttery flavored olive oil with a gentle aroma, a touch of pepper, and a light dust of sea salt flakes. The subtle spiciness of baby arugula may be overwhelmed by an oil bursting with pungent and piquant flavors (save robust olive oil to pour over TUSCAN STEAK WITH PARMESAN BUTTER, VINCOTTO & ARUGULA). For 2,000 years, pine nuts have been a delicious buttery sweet important Native American food staple containing all 20 amino acids, 65% of the RDA of vitamin E, and healthy doses of complex B vitamins--and a gluten free tree nut to boot. All together an uncomplicated plate worthy of applause.

Nota bene: While many greens are marketed as pre-washed, a cold water bath actually invigorates the greens and the finished salad will look more vibrant and taste more alive. With limited ingredients, each one counts--only prepare this salad with real Parmesan Reggiano. Use a vegetable peeler to make the Parmesan shavings. Chopped Turkish apricots, sour cherries or dried and plumped blueberries would also be delicious. To plump dried fruit, simply soak in hot water for 5 minutes, drain and continue. Watch the pine nuts carefully--they burn quickly.

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Ingredients 

  • 6 cups baby arugula

  • Parmesan Reggiano cheese, shaved with vegetable peeler

  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes and drained

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

  • Fruity extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 lemon, cut in half and juiced

  • Maldon Sea Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Place cranberries in hot water to plump for five minutes. Drain completely.

2. Place a small skillet over low heat and toast the pignoli nuts, turning frequently until golden brown. Remove from heat and reserve nuts in a small bowl until cool. If preparing ahead, place in an airtight container for several hours.

3. Toss arugula, cranberries, and pine nuts with a little olive oil and lemon juice. Add Parmesan shavings. Grind fresh black pepper and sprinkle with Maldon Sea Salt flakes.

Serves 4-6