Recipe: Summer Salad with Dates and Parmigiano Reggiano

Excerpt from Ari’s Top 5 enews

A summer salad makes a whole meal in a matter of minutes

The idea for this summer salad came to mind the other day walking through the Farmers Market, looking at the new season arugula coming in. You can grab good local arugula there or at Argus Farm Stop here in Ann Arbor. It’s terrifically tasty and healthful as well! It’s an ideal base for this salad that offers us a meal that’s simultaneously sweet, savory, and nutty! Spinach or local lettuce would work well too if you can’t find arugula, though I like the pepperiness of the latter to offset the richness of the dates and the cheese.

To make the salad, start by pitting some of those terrific Rancho Meladuco dates we have and cut them into quarters. (I’ve gone on at length about their excellence before—read more about them here!). Break some Parmigiano Reggiano up into half-inch bits—don’t cut it; it’s best when it’s broken into rough-edged pieces. The Roncadella Parmigiano Reggiano is really wonderful right now, as well as the Valserena and Borgotaro!

To assemble, fill a salad bowl with the arugula leaves. Tear them or leave them large as you prefer. Add the chopped dates, the cubes of Parmigiano Reggiano, and some chopped toasted walnuts. Sprinkle on some fleur de sel and a bunch of fresh ground black pepper and a few toasted fennel seeds. Add a few drops of sherry vinegar and some good extra virgin olive and toss well.

With the protein of the Parmigiano Reggiano and the nuts, and the sweetness of the dates, and the green of arugula, you have a bit of a whole summer meal in a single bowl. Toast some Bakehouse bread and serve it on the side!