Monday, July 16, 2012

Arugula Salad with Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinaigrette

Our food photographer is forever on vacation...

When we first introduced our Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar, we wondered if we could reasonably expect to convince our fans that this is more than a ‘dessert’ ingredient.  Well, we doubt no longer!  After a few days of experimenting with this alluring condiment in Nan’s test kitchen, we are convinced that this can be a versatile and exciting part of sweet AND savory dishes.

This pairing with arugula is inspired.  The strong peppery taste of the greens are countered beautifully by the rich savory chocolate.  If you are unfamiliar with arugula and its spicier than spinach taste, you may want to.  Of all vegetables, arugula (also known as ‘rocket’) is highest in bone building calcium, magnesium and manganese.  And if the health benefits do not sway you, perhaps this will; arugula has been considered an aphrodisiac in Italy since Roman times.  So technically we should tell you this is two aphrodisiacs on one plate… prepare at your own risk!

·         2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped
·         2 tablespoons PastamorĂ© Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar
·         2 teaspoons juice from the mandarin oranges (see below)
·         4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
·         ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
·         salt to taste

·         6 ounces baby arugula leaves; cleaned
·         3 ounces slivered almonds; toasted with a touch of salt
·         4 ounces goat cheese; crumbled
·         1 - 11 ounce can mandarin oranges; drained reserving some juice.

Place shallots in a small mixing bowl.  Add Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar and the juice reserved from the oranges.  Slowly drizzle in olive oil while whisking until the vinaigrette has emulsified.  Add black pepper and salt to taste.  You will need a fair amount of salt to bring out the chocolate flavor.  Set aside and allow flavors to meld, at least an hour.

In a large bowl, combine arugula with vinaigrette, toss to cover.  Add the almonds, goat cheese and oranges, fold carefully into the salad.  Alternatively, plate before adding oranges; then arrange oranges in a circular pattern on salad.  Serve immediately. 
Serves 4.

copyright Nan's Gourmet Foods - not to be pilfered or picture altered in any way.

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