Thursday, June 07, 2007

Arugula and Apple Salad


Such is the culinary world these days that you can get recipes in more places than ever before. Aside from cookbooks and magazines, there’s everybody’s darling, the internet. Then, there is another source of recipes that always yields its share of gems for me…and that’s restaurant menus. Ok, maybe they don’t actually have recipes on there, but they do have ideas (from professional chefs no less!) which eventually can become recipes. Recipe potentials if you will. Haven’t you ever craved for that favorite dish from your favorite restaurant but didn’t feel like eating out? Or, have you ever been so captivated by a description on a menu, then have the actual dish fall short of its golden promise?

My solution: Take some notes, build up your patience and perseverance, and start experimenting. There are treasures waiting -- not to be discovered, because they are on the menu for everyone to see -- but to be cleverly nicked and enjoyed wherever, whenever, and however you want.

This dish was inspired by a salad at a friend’s restaurant. Just reading the description, I knew this salad was for me: an arugula salad, with apple, walnuts, and gorgonzola. Arugula is by far my favorite salad green. I love its strong peppery taste and assertive personality. I even like the way it smells. When I imagined it, I pictured juicy grated apple weighing down a mound of arugula, though I wasn’t about to tell the chef to whip out his box grater ahora mismo during a busy dinner service. So when I got home, I made it myself instead.

Arugula and Apple Salad
(Thank you Chelsea for the inspiration!)

  • 2-3 bunches of arugula (depends on your purveyor)
  • 1 small green apple
  • 2 heaping tablespoon pistachios
  • ¼ cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese

For the dressing (depends how much dressing you like, so I just put the ratios):

  • 1 part balsamic vinegar
  • 3 parts extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

- Make your dressing: place balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a jar (this is one of the reasons I never toss out old jam jars…they make perfect vinaigrette makers), add salt and pepper to taste, screw the cap on tight, and shake it like you mean it! Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Remove the roots from the arugula (if your’s has them), then rinse and dry leaves. Pile on a plate or bowl.
- Using the big holes on a box grater, grate apple (no need to peel) directly onto the arugula (that way the juices get in there too…which will ultimately blend with your vinaigrette).
- Scatter pistachios and gorgonzola on top of grated apple.
- Give your dressing one last, fierce shake and drizzle over the salad.

I found some nice young/baby arugula at the market, so I used that. I also substituted pistachios for the walnuts (I was going for an all green ensemble). It came out exactly as I dreamed it would on that fateful day when I spied its tempting description on a restaurant menu. Each component complements the other perfectly: the arugula’s peppery bite tempered by the sweetness of the apple, complemented by the nuttiness of the pistachios and pungency of the gorgonzola, all tied together by a simple balsamic vinaigrette. Sweet and savory success!

Take home more than just a doggie bag on your next dinner out! :)

back to school This is my entry to this week's round of Weekend Herb Blogging. You can learn more about arugula here. Aside from salads, you can turn this tasty leaf into pesto, stuff it in sandwiches, add it to a pasta, and even to a quick (very quick) stir-fry and serve it as a side for steaks. This event was started by the fantastic Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen and is hosted this week by Ulrike from Kuchenlatein.


Michelle said...

OK, it's 8:30 in the morning here, and I'm craving salad! WOW, this looks wonderful!! I love all the ingredients, so I'll be giving this a try soon! Thanks! :)

Kalyn said...

This sounds like a fantastic salad! I love arugula too, and every ingredient here sounds perfect!

katrina said...

What a beautiful photo of a beautiful salad! (Coming from non-salad-loving me, that's a big deal.) Arugula is one of the few things that make me want to eat salad -- fruits, nuts, and cheese are the others! So, yes, I will be nicking this off you. What a great idea to grate the apples! I've always just chopped them, but this way, it permeates every bite...yum!

Believe it or not, even I've gotten ideas off menus. I once had a pasta I really enjoyed, then realized even a non-cook like me could totally replicate it at home. And so I did! :-)

Patricia Scarpin said...

Joey, I love, love, love this salad!

Arugula is my favorite green, too - I'll have it with anything.

Socky said...

I'm making this tonight! I luvvv arugula!

Anh said...

This is absolutely stunning! Love it!

Joey, you must have a wonderful palate to 'detect' the combo of ingredients in a dish and replicate it. Good work girl!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Michelle! Thanks :) Hope you like it!

Hi Kalyn! Thank you :) Glad to see more arugula lovers out there!

Hi Katrina! Thanks! :) You are absolutely right to say it "permeates every bite" when the apple is grated, and the juice ends up being part of the dressing...This is really the image that popped into my head when I read it on the menu...Nick away! :) I want to try these "even a non-cook like me" dishes you keep mentioning...I have already counted a salad and a pasta! :)

Hi Patricia! Glad you liked it! :) Me too...I'm going to make a pesto with it next :) Mmmm...

Hi Socky! Hope you like it :) It's easy to make and delicious to boot!

Hi Anh! Thank you! :)
Well, if you eat a lot, you'll taste a lot I guess...depite protests from skinny jeans, heehee :) But usually, the menus have got pretty good descriptions of the dish, so we can just take it from there :)

valentinA said...

Hmm, just by looking at your salad, I smell freshness! I've never had Aragula before, it sure looks appetising!

Ipshi said...

lemme see...
arugula - love
cheese - love
apples - love
pistachio - love
salad - LOVE

so this is a definite gonna-happen-soon!! Ironically I had just put up a arugula salad recipe on the website I write content for... and then i come and read this..
Ur pictures are so beautiful.. i have to keep reminding myself to not read ur blog before lunchtime!

kc said...


This is so pretty. Arugula is my favorite. All good.

Ulrike said...

I am also a rocket lover! Thanks for sharing this recipe for the WHB with us.

Deborah said...

Ha! I just saved a menu for a salad that I wanted to try at home just yesterday!! Beautiful picture, and this salad sounds like a winner!

Linda said...

my fav ingredients. lovely photo. i find it challenging to photography salads. finding a focal point can be challenging. you really captured it beautifully!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Gorgeous salad! And yes it is a great source for potential terrific dishes. Have you ever seen a book called
Restaurant Secretes Revealed
and I think there was one after the first also.
Any way it's an interesting look at restaurant favorites.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Valentina! Thank you :) You should give it a's got personality :)

Hi Ipshi! You are so funny :) Love your little "checklist" :) Hey, I'll have to check out that salad you posted too!

Thanks KC! :)

Hi Ulrike! It's always fun to join WHB! :) Glad to see lots of arugula/rocket lovers here!

Hi Deborah! What a coincidence! If you post about it let me know :)

Hi Linda! Thanks! I know what you mean...but this one behaved wonderfully :)

Hi Tanna! Thanks you :) I'll have to check out that book!

Nora B. said...

Arugula (or rocket) is my favourite salad after baby spinach. I love it with balsamic vinegar, caramelised onions, pear and some shavings of parmesan. Sometimes I add toasted pinenuts. Your recipe looks great and I would like to try it - thanks for sharing.

Paz said...

Oh! How I love your salad (and the photo)!


Deborah Dowd said...

In the summer heat it is great to find a new twist on a delicious and light salad, and your's sounds terrific... and it is a great resipe to play with. Change the cheese, change the green, change the fruit... it can be completely new and different! Thanks for the inspiration!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Nora b! Your recipe sounds great too...thanks for passing it on :)

Thanks much Paz! :)

Hi Deborah Dowd! Yes, it's quite versetile and open to lots of interpretations :) Glad you enjoyed the post :)


excellent photo my dear-all the crisp, textured harmony of the salad captured in a shot!

veron said...

My favorite salad green , no doubt. Arugula is king. This salad is awesome, simple, healthy and packed full of flavor!

Freya and Paul said...

A really lovely take on the usual pear and gorgonzola salad - I prefer the bite of a slightly sharp apple to pear so this one is definitely being bookmarked!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Anne! Thanks! :) I can't take all the credit though...This salad was particularly well-behaved and took to posing like Paris Hilton ;)

Hi Veron! Arugula is definitely the tops :) Thanks!

Hi Freya and Paul! Glad you liked the post :) Hope you enjoy the salad!

in-JeN-iosiTy said...

wow joey! that salad looks amazing! i really can't make my own always ends up sad looking ...i love salad at Cyma..the kind the looks like yours =)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Jen! Thanks so much! It doesn't matter how the salad looks but how it tastes...and of course, the eater is the best jidge of that ;) I like Cyma's salad too :)

christine said...

I love love love salads like these. I have to try your technique of grating the apples. Yum! :)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Nens! I knew you would like this one :) I really like the way the grated apple adds juicy-ness and texture to the well as making the apple flavor more pronounced :)

ginny said...

Hey Jo, I made this tonight but substituted Parmesan since no one likes blue cheesey stuff in my house except me and used walnuts instead bec that's what I was really good - wiped out by manuel, julio and i.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Ginny! So glad you guys enjoyed it! :) Parmesan and walnuts sound like a good variation...and the original salad in Chelsea actually does use walnuts :)

Farmgirl Susan said...

YUM. I love the idea of grating the apple. Arugula is one of my favorite salad greens to both eat and grow, and I'm always looking for new ways to enjoy it. Bookmarking this recipe now! : )

ChichaJo said...

Hi Susan! Hope you like it :) I love how the apple works grated in this salad...and I also love arugula, such a great green to have in your salads right? :)