Back from a busy, kind of frantic weekend, so I thought we should start out the week on a healthy note and this salad really fit the bill. It may look exotic and like something you'd get in a restaurant but it couldn't be easier to make. It's a perfect example of how combining simple colorful ingredients with a little creativity (for which I really can't take the credit) vaults the ordinary into something with that WOW factor!
Now that my kids like more than just basic romaine lettuce, it's been fun experimenting with different kinds of lettuces and salad ingredients. This salad contains two fairly bitter varieties of greens: radicchio and arugula but has the sweetness of a Pink Lady apple and a sort of sweet dressing to cut that bitterness, plus the saltiness of the parmesan crisps to balance it out. If you don't really care for those kinds of lettuce, you can definitely substitute one or both of them, but don't leave off the crisps--they really make the salad!! And they're a snap to make.
You simply put little mounds of freshly grated parmesan cheese on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprayed with some vegetable cooking spray and bake them until the rounds melt and flatten out, becoming crispy and golden.
Then you just throw all of your veggies into a large bowl together, make an easy slightly sweet/slightly tangy dressing, toss the salad with it and top with those delicious parmesan crisps. I think this would be a wonderful salad to make for a party too--eye-catching but without much work!!
It's a great mix of textures and flavors and a much needed splash of color in these rather drab close-to-Spring-but-not-quite-there-yet times, don't you think?!
Radicchio, Arugula and Apple Salad with Parmesan Crisps
Makes 8 servings
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
This doesn't make a whole lot of dressing so if you like a more dressed salad, double the vinaigrette ingredients. I think I would the next time.
6 oz. finely grated, fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 small shallot, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2-1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (use the full 1 tablespoon if you really like mustard)
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
2 medium heads, radicchio, leaves separated and cut in half if large
3 cups baby arugula
1 large Pink Lady, thinly sliced (or any other sweet, firm apple you like)
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray lightly with vegetable cooking spray. Divide the cheese into 8 little mounds and press down to flatten. Bake for 6-8 minutes until cheese melts and rounds flatten and turn golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. When cool, peel crisps off paper and set aside till ready to top salad.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the honey until just warmed. In a separate bowl, whisk together the shallot, oil, vinegar and mustard. Season to taste with a little kosher salt and pepper. Set aside.
3. In a large salad bowl, combine radicchio, arugula, and apple. Pour dressing over and toss to coat. Season with more salt and pepper if necessary. Top with parmesan crisps and serve.
Note: Recipe adapted from a 2014 issue of Bon Appetit Magazine. I substituted baby arugula for the regular arugula.