When we got engaged, I had no idea that I was moving in with a vegetable eschewer. The process of instilling a love of veggies in a reluctant young woman is not an easy one, I don’t know how parents do it with young children (maybe they don’t), and unlike certain controversial authors, I don’t advocate hiding plant matter in brownies and the like.
Some have been easier than others: onions, red peppers, etc. are an easy sell. Still, leafy greens are second only perhaps to exotic greens (asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli) in difficulty of acceptance. For a while I declared defeat, but I had an ally I was completely unaware of.
Although nearly two hours away and a bit overpriced and a little overhyped for my taste, a particularly famous bistro in New York offers a commendably authentic menu, including an very classic arugula salad. Stop and Shop usually carries organic arugula in tubs for $3.99 and getting the rest of the ingredients are a snap. (Organic greens are by no means necessary, this is just the way my store sells arugula).
So, I took a shot at my own version one day haven’t looked back. I serve this whenever I have guests and I have NEVER met anyone who prefers a bottled dressing over this wicked-simple salad prep. Instructions are below, but please note that I feel that it is necessary to follow the order due to solubility effects (science!) that I will explain as I go.
- Start with 3 oz (2 cups I think) of washed arugula (you gotta start somewhere)
- Add the juice of ½ lemon and let sit for a few minutes (the leafs soak in the lemon and macerate a bit)
- Add a large pinch of salt (add this now since it’ll dissolve in the lemon juice)
- Dress with olive oil (I have it in a squeeze bottle so I can add it by eye. Do this now to form a barrier between the lemon and the next ingredients)
- Add fresh black pepper (the spicy stuff is soluble in oil and so it’ll stand up better)
- Add ¼ cup of fresh parm cheese (the lemon will crush this stuff unless the oil is added first)
Like I said, no one will ever choose the bottled dressing over this, and a verbal description alone should do the trick. Classic, simple and a victory for the proponents of high folic acid intake.
The beauty of this salad, of course, is its versatility–we used a spring mix in this particular iteration.