Saturday, March 23, 2013

Elegant Arugula Salad

Here's a post that I drafted four years ago, but for some reason never posted. Whatever the reason, it's still one of my go-to salads.

Arugula salad with hazelnut oil vinaigrette

I have developed what I believe is a very nice arugula salad, based on a recipe I learned from a (French-trained) Japanese chef in Tokyo, who had a restaurant in Ginza named Tout Seul. The secret is to find really good, fragrant hazelnut oil; the rest is easy.

1/3 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp best quality red wine vinegar
pinch of salt
coarsely ground black pepper
1 1/3 Tbs (approx) good quality hazelnut oil
parmesan cheese
big handful of arugula or baby arugula
10 cherry tomatoes
1 tsp chopped chives (optional)

serves 2

Whisk together first 4 ingredients. Whisk in oil until an emulsion forms. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Gently toss arugula and tomatoes with dressing. Using a vegetable peeler, shave parmesan over salad and toss again, really lightly so as not to break up the cheese peelings. Sprinkle chives over top if desired.

You could probably make this with other greens, but the interplay between the bitterness of the arugula and the nuttiness of the hazelnut oil is at the heart of this recipe. You can get decent hazelnut oil at gourmet stores, but the really great stuff is hard to find: I buy it in Paris but you can get J. Leblanc's wonderful fragrant hazelnut oil at Kalustyan's ($39.95 for a 500 ml bottle (!) but worth it).

Bobby Jay

No comments: