A salad that’s chock-full of healthy greens and has a ton of fresh, summery flavor? That’s the challenge we presented to Joel Hough, executive chef of New York City restaurant-scene fixture and local-ingredient haven Il Buco. Joel, a farm-to-table aficionado who has cooked in some of the most progressive kitchens in the city, applied his bursting-with-flavor approach to a handful of simple ingredients and came up with this masterful montage. Joel’s Artichoke and Arugula salad is fantastic for dinner parties, but we love to make up a big batch and have it during the week, too. We guarantee this is destined to become a new favorite.
Artichoke and Arugula Salad
- 4 lemons
- 2 quarts cold water
- 12 small artichokes (look for pale green in the leaves and darker green stems; beware of browning in the stems)
- 1 bunch wild arugula or French arugula
- Ice water
- Good-quality extra-virgin olive oil (Sicilian is preferable)
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 12 fresh mint leaves
- Parmigiano-Reggiano, sliced into thin strips with a paring knife
- Squeeze the juice of two lemons into the cold water in a container large enough to hold the water and all 12 artichokes.
- Peel back the leaves of the artichokes (wear gloves) until you are left with the tender, pale yellow leaves at the base. Using a peeler, shave off the rough green part of the stem. With a sharp knife, slice off the top of the leaves of the artichoke where the color changes from green to pale green/yellow.
- Place the cleaned artichokes in the lemon water, covered by a few paper towels to keep the artichokes submerged.
- Ensure that your arugula is clean by eating a piece to check for sand or grit. Trim off some of the stem of the arugula, leaving about an inch of stem attached to the leaves. Place your arugula leaves in ice water to “wake” them up a bit.
- Add the juice of the remaining two lemons to a large mixing bowl. Whisk olive oil into the bowl until you achieve an emulsion; it should take about 8 to 12 tablespoons of oil.
- With a Japanese mandoline, shave the artichokes into the bowl. You want your shavings to be about 1/8 inch thick
- Dress the artichokes with the lemon-oil emulsion and season with salt, black pepper, and the mint, torn into small pieces.
- In a separate mixing bowl, place the dried arugula. Add enough of the dressing from the artichoke bowl to coat the arugula lightly. Season the arugula to taste with sea salt.
- On a platter, arrange the arugula leaves in a single layer, followed by the artichokes. Add a light layer of Parmigiano slices. Repeat this process until all of your ingredients are arranged on the platter.
- Top with Parmigiano, black pepper, and more torn mint. Serve.