The elemental salad – often viewed as a dish for dieters, luncheons, and side dishes and, yet, capable of so much more. Here is an example of how one simple salad that makes use of spring’s freshest greens, herbs and vegetables, can be elevated simply by arrangement. A tousle of baby arugula, mint and parsley is heaped on a thick slice of garlic-rubbed peasant bread. Crumbled ricotta salata and lemon zest are scattered over the greens creating a vibrant and snazzy topping to the bruschetta. Versatile and seasonal, this salad is not to be underestimated.
Bruschetta with Spring Greens, Lemon and Ricotta Salata
4 cups baby arugula leaves, washed
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves
1 small bunch fresh chives, chopped
1 cup thinly sliced radishes
1 cup shelled English peas, blanched
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 slices peasant or sourdough bread, about 3/4 inch thick
1-2 garlic cloves, peeled, lightly crushed
1/2 cup shaved Ricotta Salata
1-2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
Combine arugula, mint, parsley, chives, radishes and peas in a large bowl. Whisk 1/3 cup olive oil, lemon juice, honey, sea salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Pour 2/3 of the dressing over the greens. Gently toss with hands to combine.
Rub bread slices with garlic cloves. Brush lightly with extra-virgin olive oil. Grill in oven or on griddle pan until toasted and golden brown, turning once. Arrange bread slices on individual plates or platter. Top with salad. Garnish with ricotta salata, lemon zest and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle with remaining dressing.