The nice thing about Winter is that Spring can’t be far behind. We have had a particularly brutal winter in the Northeast this year and are certainly looking forward to the soft greens of Springs. Liked most people trapped in the throes of winter, we are looking for a little ray of sunshine in our cooking to lighten up these dreary days. A good citrus salad certainly goes a long way in lifting the clouds around my house.
The recipe below is inspired by testing samples of Gourmet Living’s IGP Balsamic Vinegar which will be arriving from Modena, Italy in the next few weeks. Our vinegar differs from most of the commercial varieties you see in supermarkets and fine food stores:
- Unlike most balsamic vinegar, Gourmet Living’s has been certified I.G.P. The initials I.G.P. represents “protected geographical indication,” and ensures that the balsamic vinegar was produced, aged and bottled in Modena. I.G.P. balsamic vinegar is aged for less time than “traditional” or DOP balsamic (minimum of 12 years), but additives, labeling, and aging are rigorously controlled by the Italian Consortium. The two ingredients you want to see on the label are cooked grape must (“mosto d’uva cotto”) and wine vinegar.
- Balsamic vinegar with a large percentage of grape must (“mosto“) tend to be more viscous and syrupy. This concentrated mixture means that you generally need to add less of the vinegar to create a splendid taste.
Found below is a composed winter citrus salad which has become one of our favorites as we look forward to longer days. For those unfamiliar with the term “composed” I offer this simple explanation: I simply create an arugula salad mixing in balsamic vinegar and fine olive oil and then “stage” the supporting elements to create a lovely effect for our guests.
Composed Winter Citrus Salad
Ingredients (for 4)
- 4 handfuls of fresh arugula
- Balsamic Vinegar (we recommend Gourmet Living’s Balsamic Vinegar of Modena)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 fennel thinly sliced
- 2 blood oranges
- 1 half grapefruit
- 2 to 3 oz. fresh goat cheese
- 1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds
- 1.4 cup of sliced almonds
- In a salad bowl add balsamic vinegar to arugula leaves and gently toss. Then add olive oil and toss again.
- Place leaves on 4 plates and add finishing salt
- Use your creativity to divide and arrange the other elements on the arugula leaves to create an attractive salad that will make your guests smile regardless of the temperature.