When it comes to salad, lettuce is NOT my first choice for the green component. I’ll take arugula over lettuce any time. Peppery and subtly bitter, arugula (also known as rocket in the English-speaking world) has been grown in the Mediterranean since the days of ancient Rome. I especially love baby arugula with its less pronounced bitter undertones but, when unavailable, I am not averse to regular arugula.
Aside from the level of bitterness, what’s the huge difference between baby and regular arugula? The preparation. Regular arugula requires a more thorough rinsing to remove silt, and the tough stems near the roots must be cut off.
This arugula and mushrooms salad with honey-balsamic vinaigrette is adapted from a recipe by Fabio Trabocchi.
- 1 tablespoon . of butter
- 2 to 3 button mushrooms sliced
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tspteaspoon honey
- 1 tiny pinch grated garlic
- 1 handful arugula rinsed and spun dry
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon chopped roasted nuts (any kind of nut)
- paper-thin slices of cheese (any good cheese is fine)
Heat a pan and add the butter. When the butter sizzles, add the mushrooms in a single layer. Cook over high heat until lightly browned, flipping them over midway through the cooking. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Scoop out, transfer to a plate and cool while you make the honey-balsamic dressing.
To make the dressing, stir together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey and garlic with a pinch of salt and pepper.
To assemble the salad, in a mixing bowl, toss the arugula, mushrooms and onions with the honey balsamic dressing.
Transfer the tossed salad to a plate, sprinkle the nuts over it then add shaved cheese.
Tip: I used a vegetable peeler to make thin slices of cheese.
P.S. This arugula and mushrooms salad with honey-balsamic vinaigrette would make a sensational starter or side salad for special occasions. I think I’ll add it to my Holiday 2014 menu.