I love arugula and it’s starting to be an addiction. What I don’t like are those plastic boxes it comes in – you know, the organic stuff from California? I hate waste and seeing those plastic boxes piled up in my recycling bin doesn’t make me feel too good. And while those boxes do make excellent storage for sewing notions and other bits, bobs and loose ends, I only have so much shelf space. If I could belong to an arugula-and-garlic-only CSA I’d be one happy customer.
The salad that started my addiction is a super simple one. The arugula has such a good bitter bite that it doesn’t need much. Just a squeeze of lemon, a bit of oil and a generous grating of fresh Parmesan cheese. That’s it. It tastes simple, rustic and totally satisfying. Not something you’d expect to hear when describing a green salad. Serve it at a dinner party and you’ll have people asking for the recipe. The recipe I’ve given below says it serves 2 people, but really, I could eat the whole thing in one go.
The second salad version has a bit more going on. I was inspired by the Rucola con Limone salad at Via Tevere, the new-ish pizza joint in our neighbourhood. Along with the arugula, lemon and Parmesan, there’s a good smattering of capers and raw strips of red onion along for the ride. It’s an excellent combo. Don’t fear the raw onion – I soak them in ice water for 15-30 minutes which renders them relatively harmless but perfectly crunchy.
elsewhere: Love grapefruit? Hate grapefruit? Head to Poppytalk and get my recipe for a grapefruit ginger brûlée. It makes grapefruit converts. Truth!
super simple arugula salad
I use hazelnut oil in the recipe, but olive oil is a perfectly fine substitute.
1/2 5oz box of arugula
1/2 – 1 t hazelnut oil
Parmesan cheese, grated
Rinse & dry arugula, dump in a large bowl and drizzle with the hazelnut oil. Give the lemon a light squeeze over the greens – you probably don’t want to use the entire half. Toss with your hands and taste to make sure you’ve got the lemon right. Generously grate some Parmesan cheese over top, toss and dig in. Serves 1-2.
arugula salad with lemon caper vinaigrette
1 5oz box of arugula
1/4 – 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 rounded t dijon mustard
1/2 t honey
2 – 3 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 T olive or hazelnut oil
1 rounded T capers
pinch of salt & a good grind of pepper
Parmesan cheese, grated
Wash and dry arugula and set in a large serving bowl. Add onion slices into a small bowl filled with ice water and let sit for 15-30 minutes. Drain well and add to salad. Shake up the vinaigrette ingredients in a small jar, tasting to adjust seasoning. Toss with dressing – you might have some leftover to use another day – and then sprinkle with a good amount of Parmesan cheese. Serves 4.