If you’re looking for a colourful salad, complete with bold yet complementary flavours, then the Easy arugula and hazelnut salad is for you. Having learned a lesson or two from my failed attempt at the Best-ever brownies recipe a couple of weeks ago, I made sure that after toasting the hazelnuts (in my toaster oven at 350F for 10 minutes), I promptly rubbed them in a towel while they were still warm to remove the skins (it becomes much more difficult to remove the skins once the hazelnuts cool). If you’d like to skip toasting hazelnuts, then almonds or cashews would do quite nicely. I do recommend taking the few extra minutes to toast the hazelnuts, though. And if you send someone out to get some for you, remind them that they will find them in the baking section labeled as ‘filberts’. If you don’t, your errand boy or girl may find himself, or herself, roaming the aisles of the grocery store frustrated, confused and hungry.
Speaking of aliases, ‘arugula’, the spicy salad green in this dish, is also known by other names: ‘rocket’, ‘roquette’ and ‘rucola’. Pick the name you like the best. I like how ‘arugula’ has four syllables and sounds exotic. ‘Rocket’, to me, sounds like something I shouldn’t be eating, although I suppose the preferred name will depend on where you are. When I do flights to England, I’ve heard the Brits refer to it as ‘rocket’. But then I envision the word ‘roquette’ and it makes me think that the Brits are mispronouncing a French word and placing the accent on the wrong syllable. Maybe that’s just me.
I used tangerines as one of us has an aversion to grapefruit (not me, I eat one almost every day!). It was a little messy and slightly tedious slicing the segments out of the tangerines and trying to leave the membranes behind but I’m sure that had I used grapefruit it would have been easier. Plus, these particular tangerines were a little on the dry side. Another time saver would be to use mandarin orange segments and not worry about removing any membranes. Hmm, substitute hazelnuts with almonds and grapefruit with mandarins and you save yourself 10 to 15 minutes of prep time! Not to say that this salad takes a long time to prepare, but I just like to have a repertoire of uber-fast and easy dishes to make.
I am a huge fan of arugula and love how bitter and peppery it is. The sharp tones of the fennel and arugula are mellowed by the toasted hazelnuts and the tangerine segments. This is both an eye-pleasing and palette-tickling salad. Being pregnant, I avoided the prosciutto on my portion and stared enviously at my husband’s salad bowl. Oh well, by summer time I’ll be able to add it to my list of can dos. The cookbook tells you that the dressing can be made up to a week ahead while the grapefruit and fennel can be prepared up to one day in advance. This sounds like a great salad to bring to work for lunch, don’t you think?