Published November 1, 2006.
A surprise ingredient guarantees salads that are lively but not harsh.
Spicy arugula makes a flavorful salad base, but its complex, peppery flavor also makes it something of a challenge to pair with other ingredients.
We wanted to find ingredient partners that would temper the assertiveness of arugula while accommodating its lively flavor.
Tasters liked salads with fruit and cheese, as the sweet and salty notes offered nice counterpoints to the sharp, peppery arugula. They also liked salads with crunchy elements. But what about the dressing? A vinaigrette made with mustard was too spicy to pair with the arugula; our surprise solution was to add a spoonful of jam. The jam added fruity sweetness, pulling the flavors of the salad right in line. We also discovered that certain winter fruits effectively echoed the flavor of the vinaigrette: we settled on dried figs plumped with balsamic vinegar, fresh red grapes, and juicy orange sections. For salty components, we turned to cured meat and crumbled cheese; slivers of raw fennel and toasted nuts delivered just the right amount of crunch.list of recipes