Top | The Mediterranean Kitchen
Roast Pepper, Fontina, and Arugula Salad
(recipe, Joyce Goldstein)
So where has arugula been hiding all this time? All at once it seems to be on everyone's menu, but for years it was growing in Italian family backyards. For those who took the time to cultivate it and knew of its special properties, it was always there, but it was not easily available to the rest of us. Finally, in our current produce revolution, the word is out about what a delicious salad green it is — peppery, nutty, spicy, and crisp. It contrasts perfectly with fleshy red peppers and creamy Fontina, but remember arugula is best when the leaves are small.
- 3 large red peppers
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 cups loosely packed arugula, trimmed
- 2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed, cored, and thinly sliced (optional)
- 4 oz. Fontina cheese, thinly sliced and cut into 3- by ½-inch strips
- Freshly ground black pepper
Anchovy Garlic Vinaigrette (see Note, below)
- ¾ cup mild olive oil
- ½ cup fruity olive oil
- ½ cup red-wine vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 2 heaping Tbsp. finely minced or puréed anchovies
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Char the peppers on an open flame or under the broiler until blackened on all sides. Transfer to a plastic container with a lid, or a paper or plastic bag. Cover the container or close the bag and let the peppers steam for about 15 minutes. Peel the skins from the peppers; then cut in half, remove the stems, and scrape out the seeds. Don't rinse the peppers under water to remove the skins because they lose too much flavor. You can scrape the excess char off with a knife. Cut the peppers into ½-inch-wide strips. Place them in a small bowl and cover with the olive oil.
- Toss the arugula and fennel, if using, separately with most of the vinaigrette. Divide the arugula among 6 salad plates and top with the fennel. Arrange the red pepper and cheese strips over the top and drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette. Grind pepper over the salads if desired and serve at once.
To make the Anchovy Garlic Vinaigrette, whisk all the vinaigrette ingredients together. This vinaigrette is excellent with a simple salad of just roasted peppers and arugula with or without Fontina cheese, and as a marinade for tuna and swordfish.