Who ever heard of eating arugula as kids? When I was growing up anything more than iceberg lettuce was exotic. Sometimes my mom would throw in some carrot slices and we looked for the tablecloth.
Remember those salads of perfectly cut iceberg lettuce with commercial bottled Thousand Island dressing? Now it’s back and being served as a trendy salad in all these retro restaurants.
Arugula is an aromatic salad green with a bitter, peppery taste. Also known as rocket or rucola, it can be eaten raw in salads, wilted like we are doing in this recipe, added to stir-fry or made into pesto. I often add it to my red leave lettuce salads to spice it up a little.
I’ve adapted this recipe from one I found in my local newspaper, a great source for all kinds of seasonal recipes. Most papers have a food section once a week and often have a “rush hour” recipe or “30 minute” recipe that’s a great source for busy cooks. The New York Times has been publishing The New York Times Cookbook since 1961 and is full of classic Craig Claiborne’s recipes.
Walnut Vinaigrette Over Wilted Arugula
2 bunches of Arugula
¼ cup walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1-tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon walnut oil
1-tablespoon sherry vinegar
Pinch of sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 ounces goat cheese
How To Prepare At Home
Arugula can be very gritty so be sure to wash it several times until there is no evidence of that nasty grit that can ruin a meal instantly.
Remove the stems; tear the leaves into 3 inch pieces and reserve in a serving bowl.
Sauté the garlic and walnuts in the oil over medium high heat until the garlic starts to turn golden but not brown. You don't want to burn the garlic or all you will taste is burnt garlic!
Remove from the heat and add the walnut oil, sherry vinegar, sugar, a little bit of salt and a bunch of pepper depending on how spicy you want the dressing. Whisk all the ingredients together.
Pour the hot vinaigrette over the arugula and toss. Let the salad sit for 5 to 10 minutes until the arugula wilts.
You can serve this separately by plating four servings and top with some crumbled goat cheese or you can serve it in the serving bowl with the crumpled cheese on top. Either way you have a great looking and better tasting salad.
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