Baby arugula is one of my favorite salad greens. The peppery, slightly bitter taste is a perfect foil for citrus vinaigrettes, which are my favorite dressings. The "baby" assures a tender leaf in a size that requires no chopping or tearing, facilitating a quick yet delicate end product. Kiwi has been called a super food--labels like that change over time but it will remain a super tasting food. And of course this was an opportunity to use pine nuts that I couldn't refuse.
3 cups baby arugula
1/3 cup pine nuts (toasted or untoasted)
2 large kiwi fruit
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely grated Balsamic Bellavitano cheese (or Swiss cheese)
Place arugula in a serving bowl. Add pine nuts. Peel and quarter kiwi, then slice quarters into 1/8 inch slices. Add to arugula and nuts. In a separate bowl, zest lime with a micro planer to get 1/2 teaspoon. Squeeze lime to get 3 tablespoons and add to bowl. Add salt and whisk in olive oil. Grate cheese with micro planer and whisk into vinaigrette. Check for seasonings, adding more salt if necessary. Whisk and pour over salad just prior to serving, tossing to coat leaves.
Hints: Buy pre-washed arugula or rinse and use a salad spinner or gently pat dry with a paper towel; the salad will be much better if residual washing water doesn't dilute the vinaigrette. Perfectly ripe kiwi are best. Over ripe ones will be a bit mushy and sweet. Under ripe ones will be too firm and sour. The cheese you choose to use for the dressing is important. Use a firmer cheese, one that will grate easily on a micro planer. The Bellavitano is not too salty and fairly mild with a sweet note because of the balsamic. Swiss or Gruyere are good alternative options, but follow your (cheese) heart and use what you love. I buy the Bellavitano at Costco, it is an American made cheese.
This is a wonderful salad that has pretty intense flavors. I like to serve it with pork tenderloin or chicken but it will stand up wonderfully with steak or roast beef. It also works as a main dish served with soup and a nice, heavy whole grain bread.