I’ve crossed my fingers, toes, eyes and everything else I could for the weather to change for us and for it to finally become spring. Alas, a snow flurry or two and wind chill factors bringing us below freezing at times has persisted. Thank goodness spring is at least showing up in the market in the form of asparagus, fresh peas and spring onions. It gives me great joy!
With the knowledge of green spring vegetables in the markets, I took to my weekly food television watching last week and saw just what I want to be eating this Easter Sunday. With some delicious additions and minor changes, I can taste it right now.
The meal will start with a peppery arugula salad with house-made vinaigrette and shaved ricotta salata (a hard sheep’s milk cheese), sliced and toasted almonds and dried cherries. You can, of course, substitute any green that you like, but this combination hits all of the right spots on the palate.
1 cup sherry or red wine vinegar
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Leaves of 1 sprig of thyme
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
9 cups baby arugula
4 ounces ricotta salata cheese, shaved with a peeler
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted in a dry pan over low heat just until golden (They burn quickly, so watch them!)
1/4 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped (optional)
Combine the vinaigrette ingredients in a sealable container large enough to accommodate them with some room to spare. Cover tightly with lid and shake vigorously until combined. Taste, reseason to your liking and thin with small amounts of water if too thick. Reserve vinaigrette in the fridge until ready for use.
When you are ready to serve the salad, add arugula to a large serving bowl and toss with some of the vinaigrette. Do not over-dress your salad! You can always add more. Using a vegetable peeler, shave ricotta salata over the dressed arugula. Gently toss again, finishing with almonds and cherries … and a little more cheese too. Extra vinaigrette will keep in the refrigerator. Serve immediately.
Enjoy the salad before the meal or as a vegetable on the dinner plate. Either way, it will be the bright compliment to a savory meal.
Happy eating and thanks for reading!
Kysha Harris is a food writer, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service offering weekly and in-home entertaining packages. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations? Email her at kysha@iSCHOP.com, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @SCHOPgirl and on Facebook www.facebook.com/SCHOPnyc. For even more recipes, tips and food musings, subscribe to her blog at www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com.