Arugula Salad With Manouri Cheese and Citrus Ouzo Dressing

IMG_9159-001When I host my Greek Supper Clubs, it’s a busy day and evening as I have to wear many hats: event coordinator, cook and host. There are lots on the go, I love it and I always make time to make my rounds from table to table to say to people who have become friends by showing up to many dinners and to introduce myself to the new folks.

Making the rounds also allows me to gauge how people are enjoying the food. I like seeing empty plates! This past Wednesday, I hosted a Thessaloniki-themed dinner and the one surprise hit was this salad I made where the focus was Manouri cheese, a sheep’s milk whey cheese brought here in Canada from Krinos Foods and it’s one of my favourite Greek cheeses.

This PDO/appelation Greek cheese is soft, buttery flavoured cheese is made from the whey that’s leftover from making Feta and it’s great in both sweet and savory dishes. Ask for it at your local Greek specialty market. The other surprise was that almost everyone was asking “what was in the dressing? I love it!”

When I was mixing the ingredients for this dressing, I knew this would be a hit. The base begins with finely diced shallots, red wine vinegar to mellow the rawness of these little cousins to onions, then the “secret to the sauce”…the juices of three citrus fruit: lemon, orange and grapefruit.

As always, mustard is always included in the dressing and the other Greek aspect to the dressing is a splash of Babatzim Ouzo to give the salad a hint of anise flavouring. I used peppery arugula leaves and garnished with some crisp grape halves and toasted almond slices. You’re gonna love this salad. I’m going to buy some more salad greens!IMG_9149-001

Arugula Salad With Manouri Cheese and Citrus Ouzo Dressing

(serves 4-6)

1/4 cup of finely diced shallots (or red onions)

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 Tbsp. honey

2 Tbsp. Dijon honey

juice of one lemon

juice of one orange

juice of 1/2 grapefruit

2 Tbsp. Babatzim Ouzo (or any other brand)

approx. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

fresh ground pepper

sea salt to taste

sliced rounds of Manouri cheese (or quartered)

sliced halves of 12 seedless grapes

toasted sliced almonds

4-6 cups of washed baby arugula leaves

  1. Into a large bowl, add your shallots and vinegar and allow 5 minutes for the vinegar to mellow the shallots. Meanwhile, extract the juices of your lemon, orange and grape fruit. Now add the mustard and honey and whisk in followed by the lemon, orange and grapefruit juices and Ouzo.
  2. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and while whisking, slowly add your olive oil until you’ve achieved the consistency you like for your dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.
  3. Toss your arugula in the dressing and divide and plate. Top each salad with a slice of Manouri cheese, top with grape halves, spoon some leftover dressing over the cheese and finish with the almonds. Serve and enjoy with a crisp bottle of Gerovassliou Malagouzia.

 

 

© 2013,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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