Once in a while I come up with a recipe that I love so much, I'll eat it every day for weeks. I recently threw together a salad that has become my obsession this month. It is ridiculously simple, yet astoundingly delicious. It's not your ordinary iceberg lettuce salad with ranch dressing, and makes a wonderful side dish with a beautifully grilled rib eye steak. It's easy to make a large quantity to serve at dinner parties, and has an elegance about it.
Baby Arugula with Spicy Cappacola and Lemon Vinaigrette
What you need:
- 1 bag of pre-washed organic baby arugula
- spicy cappacola ham
- freshly shaved imported parmigiano reggiano cheese (blue or Gorgonzola cheese crumbles can substitute)
- juice of 1 lemon
- extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt, fresh cracked black pepper
- splash of balsamic vinegar
- dried thyme
- handful of sweet grape tomatoes, halved
Place arugula in large bowl. Roll up several slices of cappacola and slice into strips. Add ham, halved tomatoes, and cheese to the greens and gently toss.
Splurge for the actual Italian (aged and imported) Parmigiano Reggiano- it's worth it's weight in gold. There is just nothing that comes close. If you don't want to spend the ten bucks for a wedge, or don't care for it, you can do the crumbled gogonzola, blue, or feta cheese. I strongly advise against the substitution of American Parmesan. It has no taste and the consistency is like wax.
I don't measure, but there are some general proportions you can follow in order to adjust the quantity to your needs. Obviously you can adjust to your taste. (Word of warning, you can't judge it alone by dipping a finger in it. Dip a leaf and sample a bite to get a true assessment.)
Use one part fresh squeezed lemon juice to 2 parts extra virgin olive oil. Season generously with fresh cracked pepper and sea salt. Add a dash of dried thyme, and two spashes of balsamic vinegar. The sweetness of the balsamic balances the sour of the lemon and it ends up with such a fresh, light, yet lively flavor. You'll want to whisk or shake to blend well, then drizzle onto salad and toss.
To make this into an entree, simply add sliced chicken breast (see my post Cheater Cheater Chicken Eater) and toasted walnuts. See if it becomes your lunch break obsession, too!