California Central Coast Recipes
Arugula Salad with walnut-olive dressing
On the California Central Coast, areas which have a strong marine influence from the Pacific Ocean do not freeze and continue to grow produce throughout the Winter. It is during this time of year that we get some of the best leafy green vegetables and makings for winter salads.
This is one of our favorite winter salads made up of arugula, walnuts, and an unusual chunky walnut-olive dressing. The dressing itself is delicious and it also lends itself as an appetizer-dip with crackers or potato dip chips.
The dressing is very opinionated, so the the secret is to use really good peppery arugula - nothing really substitutes. The bitter-peppery sharpness of the arugula contrasts very nicely with the acidity of the walnut-olive dressing.
Preparation time: 15 minutesCooking time:
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
16 Fresh Walnut Halves
16 Medium Whole Cloves of garlic
1/4 cup Fresh Walnut pieces
1/4 cup Kalamata Olives , coarsely chopped
2 cloves Fresh Garlic , coarsely chopped
1/3 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh Black Pepper , several grinds to taste
6 ounces Fresh Arugula (Rocket)
Parmesan Reggiano , for shaving
1 To make the garnish, add the extra-virgin olive oil to small saute pan over low heat. Add the walnut halves and the garlic cloves.
2 Saute over low heat until the garlic becomes slightly golden and translucent. Be careful no to over heat the pan! The Olive oil will burn and the garlic will turn bitter.
3 Remove the contents from the pan and place aside on a paper towel for later.
4 For the dressing, place the walnut pieces, the olives, chopped garlic, vinegar and olive oil in a food processor.
5 Run the the food processor for a minute or so few seconds to chop up the contents, but do not completely puree the contents, it should be slightly chunky.
6 Add a few grinds of Black Pepper to taste.
7 To assemble the salad, place a portion of the arugula on individual plates. Place the whole garlic cloves and walnut halves attractively throughout the arugula.
8 Drip a spoonful or two of the dressing over the salad, then places several shavings of Parmesan Reggiano on top of the salad.
9 Serve with a crusty bread.
You have two choices for wine. If you like the spicy bitterness of the arugula, serve the salad with a dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc.
On the other hand, if you want to tone the bitterness down a bit, serve the salad with a red wine like a Petite Sirah. The tannins in the red wine will temper the bitterness of the arugula