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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Arugula with Pear, Cranberry and Celery - A Delicious Salad

The first time I had arugula salad was in a restaurant. Till then I hadn't really eaten this green on it's own. I had always encountered it in a mix of different leaves. I found that the leaves had a very interesting and spicy flavor. I had always heard various chefs on the television shows describe it as peppery and that description always flummoxed me. How could a leaf taste like pepper? Well, I finally ate an arugula leaf unadulterated by dressings or other veggies and found that it did have a spiciness to it and  "peppery" was a pretty good description.

I made this salad with a very simple vinaigrette, a drizzle of olive olive and vinegar. As a result, the spiciness of the arugula and red onion, the sweetness of the pear and tartness of the dried cranberries is highlighted.  These ingredients play very well with each. You can also dress the salad with some Parmesan cheese shavings.

1 pack arugula leaves (about 3-4 handfuls are enough to serve 2-3 people)
1 pear, sliced
1/4 cup dry and sweetened cranberries
1 stalk of celery, diced
1/4 red onion, sliced into thin and long slices, with the layers separated
1 tsp vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

Whisk the oil and vinegar together and add a little salt and pepper to this dressing. Toss arugula, pears, celery, onion slices and cranberries together. Pour a little dressing and toss together to coat the salad. Add just enough dressing so that the salad is well coated. Serve as a first course or you can even have it as a light meal with a side of bread.

Though the arugula comes pre-washed, I always rinse out my greens before using in a salad. Then I put them through a spinner to drain the water out. If you don't have salad spinner, then take a thin cotton cloth, place the greens in the cloth, and gather all the edges so that you get a nice package and then holding these ends together, move your arm in a circular manner and shake the water out of the greens. This will get absorbed in the cotton cloth. 


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