Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Novelle Salad

I had a salad at a wonderful restaurant in Southern California that was very similar to this. There's a certain balance between the bitter arugula greens, the pungent cheese and the sweet dressing. It's a salad that we have at home only occasionally, just to keep it special!


4 cups baby arugula
1 red pepper
4 thin slices red onion
4 tsp pine nuts, toasted
4 ounces aged manchego cheese
Honey Mustard Dressing


Prepare the red pepper ahead of time. Halve the red pepper lengthwise, remove seeds and white veins, and flatten the pepper. Place the pepper on an ovenproof pan and place under a broiler for 6-10 minutes, until skin blisters. Remove from broiler and cover pepper with a saucepan or pot cover. Let steam for 10 minutes, then remove the blistered skin, and cut into thin strips. Alternatively, you can purchase sweet red pepper strips already prepared, Mezzetta brand makes a nice tasting product.

Wash and dry the baby arugula. Arrange leaves on salad plates. Mound red peppers on top of lettuce. Sprinkle with pine nuts. Separate the onion rings and arrange on top of salad. Top with several shavings of manchego cheese. Dress salad with a small amount of honey mustard dressing.

Serves 4.

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Manchego cheese is a full bodied sheep's milk cheese. It tastes a little like feta cheese, slightly more pungent and with a firmer texture. The longer the cheese ages, the sharper the taste. I've seen Manchego that's been aged for as little as 3 months to as long as 12 months. As taste increases with aging, price increases, too! But, good news, you won't need as much of the sharper cheese. If you're looking to cut the sodium or fat in cheeses, or just want to buy less, use smaller amounts of sharp, full bodied cheeses. Shave the slices thinner and place them prominently on top of your salad. You'll still enjoy great taste, just less product!

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