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Arugula & Radicchio Salad with Crispy Shallots & Shallot Oil

  • July 1, 2016

 Arugula is probably my favorite salad green, especially coupled with radicchio. It’s fairly common to find these bitter greens on the menus of Italian restaurants, but the crispy shallots add a whole new dimension. It’s hard to imagine the flavor of the salad could be so dramatically different with the addition of these shallots, but once you try them, you’ll be looking to use them in other dishes as well.

That is, if you can keep yourself from eating them all while they sit draining on paper towels.
The technique to frying them is not what you think.
Rather than bring the oil to a high heat, you place the shallots in barely warmed oil, then let the shallots gurgle and burp in the oil as the temperature gets hotter.
Before you know it, you’ll have beautifully golden, brown crispy shallots that are irresistible. A side benefit is the flavorful oil that remains in the pan. It’s a key ingredient in the salad dressing.


Arugula & Radicchio Salad with Crispy Shallots & Shallot Oil
From “Gjelina” cookbook by Travis Lett
serves 4 – 6
1 recipe crispy shallots & shallot oil (below)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch arugula
1 head radicchio, torn or cut into strips
chunk of Parmesan cheese for shaving
Pour 1 1/2 cups of the shallot oil into a small bowl (reserve the remaining oil for another use).
Whisk in the lemon juice, sherry vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and honey and season with salt and pepper.
In a large salad bowl, combine the arugula and radicchio. Spoon the dressing over the top. Add a handful of the crispy shallots, and a light shaving of Parmesan. Toss well and transfer to individual plates. Top with more crispy shallots and Parmesan, if you like, and serve.
Shallot Oil
makes about 3/4 cup crispy shallots and 1 1/2 cups shallot oil
According to the cookbook, the key to the crispy shallots is to add them to the warm oil and raise the temperature gradually while moving the shallots briskly around the pan. The bubbling action of the shallots in the oil will tell you when the temperature is right. The oil should hiss steadily, but not so much that the shallots spit out of the pan.
2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
5 shallots, thinly sliced

In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. As soon as oil is warm, add the shallots and cook, stirring, until deep golden brown and the temperature of the oil is about 230 degrees F. , 10 to 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, transfer the shallots to a paper-lined dish to drain. Let the oil cool to room temperature.

Store the shallots in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. Pour the oil into a jar and store the jar in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Arugula and Fennel Salad

  • May 28, 2014

 It’s here and it crept up on me – bathing suit season, that is. ugh. Is it too late to start dieting now? Oh forget it – there’s just too much good gelato in my future. But it can’t hurt to have a light salad or two for lunch or dinner. I’ve always loved raw fennel and raw mushrooms in a salad, but this one is kicked up a notch with the addition of chive flowers and pink peppercorns – not original ideas to be sure, because almost everything’s been done before. But I did get inspired to use those pink peppercorns after seeing Lori’s salad here, and to throw in those chives after seeing Stacey’s dish here.

You’ll need a mandolin to cut the fennel thin enough, but we careful of those thumbs and fingers. Shave the parmesan with a cheese plane, crush the pink peppercorns, and toss in some chive flowers or  tiny thyme blossoms. And don’t worry about those few extra pounds — enjoy the gelato.


Arugula Fennel Salad
arugula – one small bunch
one small bulb of fennel
shaved parmesan cheese, as much as you like
sliced raw button mushrooms – about 6 or 8, depending on size
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
 a little less than 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
a small bit of honey (1 t. or so)
a small squirt of Dijon mustard
salt, pepper
pink peppercorns, smashed
chive blossoms, thyme blossoms
aged balsamic vinegar, optional
Mix all the dressing ingredients in a jar. Wash the arugula and toss with enough of the dressing to coat.
Slice the fennel thinly using a mandoline. Careful not to cut yourself. Toss the fennel with a bit of dressing and place over the arugula. Wash the mushrooms and slice thinly. Scatter them over the salad, then shave parmesan cheese over everything. Decorate with chive blossoms and/or thyme flowers.
Drizzle a little aged balsamic vinegar over the salad, if you have it. Otherwise, it’s fine just as is.

Raw Artichoke Salad

  • April 26, 2013

 Raw artichokes? Yes, raw artichokes. Cast aside those thoughts of chewing through cardboard. That might be the case if you used regular artichokes. But this salad is made with baby artichokes – the ones that measure only about three inches long and are in markets right now. 

Even so, you can’t just bite right into these artichokes. They do look a bit foreboding with those prickly leaves, don’t they? There’s a bit of prep work to do first, including stripping off all of those pesky outer leaves. For those of you who might be thinking what a waste that is, you can recycle the leaves by cooking them in water and making vegetable broth to use in risotto, soups or stews. Once you’ve stripped off enough leaves to get down to the very tender interior, trim the stem all the way around.
Then slice off the top section of the artichoke to get rid of the prickly part.
Cut the artichoke in half. At this point, if you were trimming regular size artichokes, you’d have to scoop out the center choke. But in these baby artichokes, it’s still quite tender, so leave it in.
Cut into very thin slices.
Have ready a bowl of acidulated water (water with lemon juice or vinegar), or the dressing you’re going to use for the salad, and immediately drop the slices into that. Otherwise, the artichoke will oxidize and turn brown very quickly.
Then prepare the other ingredients: wash the arugula, slice the mushrooms and shave some strips from a piece of parmesan cheese (I use a vegetable peeler to do this). Toss everything with the dressing and I promise you, cardboard will be the last thing on your mind.
For a tutorial on trimming large, globe artichokes and a recipe for artichoke risotto, click here.
Raw Artichoke Salad
It’s hardly a recipe, just a list of ingredients mixed with a vinaigrette.
baby artichokes
parmesan cheese
white button mushrooms
extra virgin olive oil
lemon juice
salt, pepper
Prepare the dressing by mixing 1 part lemon juice to 2 parts extra virgin olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Wash the arugula and mushrooms. Slice the mushrooms. Trim the artichokes and slice thinly. Toss the artichokes, the mushrooms and arugula with the dressing and mix with shavings of parmesan cheese.


  • May 8, 2012
Have you ever tried bresaola? (pronounced breh-ZOW-la) It may look a little like prosciutto, but it’s beef, not pork — and it’s a specialty of Italy’s Valtellina, the Alpine area in the region of Lombardy (the area in red below). Nowadays, you can find it all over Italy, and in the U.S. too – at least where I live in the Northeast. It’s made with top round or another cut of lean beef, seasoned with salt and spices, then dried and aged for a few months.
 It’s sliced paper thin and eaten raw, making it perfect for an easy lunch or dinner — especially on a warm day when you don’t want to turn on the oven. A classic way to serve it is with some arugula and shavings of parmesan cheese, freshly cracked black pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and a squirt of lemon.
If you’re looking for a quick, unusual and delicious appetizer, try mixing a little goat cheese with some chives. Place a dab of the mixture on a slice of bresaola.
Then pick up the edges, bring them toward the center and tie with a chive stem (or a thin slice of leek.)