I first had this at a little Italian restaurant in Queens, New York called Bartolinos. I was initially surprised that something so simple could be so satisfying but I shouldn’t have been. I’ve always thought that one good way of judging a restaurant is to look at how much care and creativity they put into their salads and appetizers.
This kind of first course is the polar opposite of the “bottomless bread basket” on offer at certain chain restaurants which shall mercifully remain unnamed. Those usually serve to dull your senses so you won’t be overcome by nausea when you’re served the processed microwaved entrees whose flavor is mostly derived from generous additions of MSG.
On the other hand, there’s a place for those entree like salads, e.g., ‘Salade Nicoise’ and ‘Cob Salad’ which I’ve eaten and like.
But the thing about any dish with few ingredients is that you can’t cheat. Every ingredient has to be perfect and perfectly compatible. This salad hits that mark. The peppery flavor of the arugula, the sweet tart of the orange, and the slightly nutty flavor of the shaved parmesan – well you don’t need anything else.
I like this with everything but it’s particularly good with sandwiches (the Mussolini) and pasta since it’s so light.
- Naval Orange
- Olive Oil
- Vinegar to taste
- Dijon mustard
- Salt & Pepper
- Peel and section the orange so that no white pith is visible. Do this over a bowl so you can catch the juice.
- Save what's left after you've sectioned the orange and give it a good squeeze.
- Add some olive oil, salt & pepper.
- Add about a tsp. of mustard (or to taste) and whisk to make the dressing
- Pour this over the arugula and oranges and top with shaved Parmesan.