As a busy mom, it’s game changing to have a few dishes in the mix that I can make without even thinking. There are many days where the hours seem to go by and I’ve barely had a moment to catch my breath, let alone make a healthy lunch for myself (or somehow put real clothes on). And before I know it, it’s 3:30 and the older kids are rushing home from school.
Salads are an easy choice for me most days. I have a few combinations that I’ve filed away in the back of my brain that I know always work well together. Arugula and fennel is one of those staple combinations. I can promise you, those two will always work well together. The peppery bitter notes of the fennel are a great balance with the almost sweet anise flavor of the fennel. It’s a classic combination you don’t have to think about. It just works.
The fun is in adding the extras. For this recipe I’ve used pickled red onions (recipe found here) that give a bright, tart sweetness along with ricotta salata cheese that adds an extra firm salty element.
When I worked as a line cook at Spiaggia we used ricotta salata in our house salads. It was my first time trying it and I was obsessed from the start. When my shift was done I would gather up any “extras” for a little treat on my way home. It was kind of a problem. If you’ve never had ricotta salata, it would almost remind you of feta. It’s firm, crumbles well and is really salty. Next time your perusing the cheese aisle, ask for a little sample. It may just become your new go to cheese.
For the dressing, I used my favorite salad dressing (recipe found here) that adds a fresh citrus element to the dish. It’s another great staple recipe that only requires a few minutes, and a few ingredients. It’s great for those busy days when you just need a quick lunch.
- Add rinsed arugula to serving bowl.
- Add sliced fennel, pickled red onion, ricotta salata and sunflower seeds
- Add dressing and toss to combine