Best Salad Ever

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.

Arugula (or mixed mescalun greens) Salad with Lemon, Olive Oil and Parmesan

Arugula (or mixed mescalun greens) Salad with Lemon, Olive Oil and Parmesan

The beauty of this salad, of course, is its versatility–we used a spring mix in this particular iteration.

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