Orange, Almond & Arugula Salad

I don’t look too much into the pairings of foods and drinks. My eating is often impulse and simply whatever sounds good. I have had many cases of buyer’s remorse though where I wish I went the other route when ordering or cooking.Chicken done

Since I prefer the impulse route mostly, I’ve decided to give you things in individual posts. For a few reasons: First, I don’t expect you to read a ridiculously long post so I try to keep them somewhat short. Second, you can search for recipes easier this way.

I’ve recently surpassed my 20th post! So to help organize for you, I wanted to make sure you saw the tags and categories located at the bottom of each post. You’ll see them as links in blue. Also, I’ve added in a tab in the top navigation.  Titled “Recipes” with a drop down of categories for your searching ease.

So in continuation of last week’s post, Crispy Mustard-Glazed Chicken, today’s post is about the salad that accompanied it in the photos. My sister, Heather, helped me with this one.

Orange, Almond & Arugula SaladIMG_3381
Recipe from The Chopping Block

4 c arugula
2 oranges, segmented
1/4 c sliced allmonds, toasted
1/3 c shaved parmesan cheese
Lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper

This salad came along with the Chicken 101 class from The Chopping Block here in Chicago. I actually didn’t do too much with it since I chose to be busy with another recipe, but when we sat down to eat I was really shocked by how good it was!

Like I said before, it’s great to go to these classes at The Chopping Block because there I not only learn recipes and how to execute those recipes, but also why these ingredient or steps are together.

Specifically with this salad, I learned that arugula is really bitter so you have to be somewhat smart with it when making an arugula salad. I would suggest taking the extra effort on getting shaved parmesan, which is located by the fancy cheese in the store. Parmesan is a really salty cheese and the shaved version since it’s bigger pieces emits the salty flavor more; therefore balances the bitter arugula nicely. But that or shredded works just fine.

IMG_3380Segmenting oranges is a little tricky, but totally worth it within this salad. To do this, you’ll need to cut the peel off of the orange. Start by cutting a bit off the top and bottom of the orange. Then set it up on the flat bottom on a cutting board. Next take a knife and shave off the peel from the sides by starting at the top then curving the way down the side with a knife. When doing so, you’re goal is to get all the white part of the peel off the orange. Essentially this includes the white and the outer clear skin that holds all of the pulp pieces together.

IMG_3376

Segmenting the piece to the right of the knife

Once you have the orange peel completely off, hold the orange in your hand over a bowl and use a pairing knife or some other small knife to cut out the piece of the orange. This is where the actual segmenting happens. So you’ve cut the skin on the outside edge of each piece at this point, now you’re goal is to do the same on the sides.

If you look closely, you can see the line of the skin in between two pieces. Take the knife and cut as close to this line as you can. Then look to the other side of the piece and repeat. In theory, you’ll be able to pull the piece out and away from the solid orange.

Once you repeat this for every piece of the orange you’ll essentially have a book or ‘pages’ of orange skin. At this point, I’d recommend heading over to the sink and sucking out the rest of the juice from the orange. Soooo good.

IMG_3382In a big salad bowl, empty the arugula and almonds into it. Place all the orange slices in as well and maybe throw in a few short pours of the orange juice in the salad. Mix it up a bit.

For the dressing, it’s just simply lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, which is the flavor that shocked me the most when I first ate it. No measurements here. It’s just dressing to taste.

So on that note, do this is many steps. Keep in mind you can always add, but can’t take away. Add some lemon juice and olive oil then mix and taste a leaf. Repeat if needed. It’s not going to be a burst of flavor in your mouth necessarily with just a leaf alone with the juice and oil. It’ll be all the elements together that will be good.IMG_0870

So one you feel it’s coated and balanced to your liking, add some salt and pepper plus the parmesan cheese. You’ll probably have some left over cheese to put on the table in case anyone would like to add more to their serving, too. This salad is great to start or to go along with a heavy-ish piece of meat since it’s light enough. Enjoy!

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