Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Whiffs of Memory

Arugula : pungent, bright and flavorful, a dimension lettuce can never hope to achieve.

To me, food is all about memory. Some flavors remembered from childhood, some acquired over the years; every favorite triggers a moment that makes it special. And this salad is what makes arugula more than a salad leaf. Arugula to me is cobbled side streets, a rustic Italian bistro, friends and conversations.

First, wash arugula and pat dry. The leaves are small enough so you don’t need to tear them. Peel and chop a pear. Toss it in lemon juice to make sure it keeps on looking a bright white. Add it to the bowl over a layer of arugula. Add another layer of arugula, then some walnuts. Top the salad with cheese. The traditional choice is grated parmesan, but I prefer crumbled goat cheese or feta.

As you build each layer, keep on sprinkling some salt and pepper – we are not going to add much of a dressing here so no need to toss it later. For our non-dressing, I just pour enough balsamic vinegar to coat everything and its ready to go.

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