I don’t know how the weather looks where you are, but Massachusetts has been chilly and rainy for weeks now – not proper June behavior, to be sure. This morning we’ve been looking at intermittent bursts of sun and watching over our shoulder for the oncoming thunderclouds. We’re hoping for summer to come on strong any day now, but she’s being reluctant.
This arugula salad is my response to this confused weather — an interpretive dance, if you will. It sounds like it should be a summer salad but in fact the components are demonstratively wintery. Hearty beans, parmesan cheese, and pickled onions all sound like they should be menu features in December or January, but with a substantial dose of lemon juice and the addition of cherry tomatoes, this salad is perfect for the confused days of June.
Easy Arugula and White Bean Salad
High-quality red wine vinegar
5 cups (baby) arugula greens
Cherry or grape tomatoes (optional)
High-quality extra virgin olive oil
14 oz. can of cannellini or other white beans
salt and pepper
Peel the shallots of their skin and slice crosswise as thinly as possible. Separate the rings and place in a ramekin or other small bowl. Pour red wine vinegar over the shallots to cover. Set aside.
Place the arugula (and cherry tomatoes, if using) in a large salad bowl and shave thin peels of parmigiano-reggiano into the bowl with a vegetable peeler, as much as you like. Then, using a grater or microplane, grate more parmesan over a separate medium-sized bowl until you have about a half a cup.
Dump the can of white beans into a strainer and rinse under running water until clean. Shake the strainer lightly to dispel excess water, and add the beans to the bowl with the grated parmesan. Gently fold the beans in with the parmesan, or lightly toss the bowl until the beans are coated.
Juice the whole lemon into the arugula salad, catching the seeds. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil to the salad to lightly coat the leaves. Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper to taste, then toss the greens and parmesan shavings to distribute. Add the white beans on top of the green salad, then place the vinegar-soaked shallots on top of the beans. Sometimes I sprinkle a bit of the shallot-infused vinegar over the salad, but usually the lemon provides enough acidity on its own. Enjoy!