Bibb & Arugula Salad with Pecorino Romano

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Bibb & Arugula Salad 6-13Prep 15 mins  Eat 15 mins

This Bibb and Arugula Salad with Pecorino Romano is a new favorite. Twenty years ago, not too many people had tasted arugula when it found its way into my garden.  Its bitter taste was a little offsetting when I made it into an arugula pesto back then.  But now, the arugula we eat today, seems to have been tamed. The tiny arugula leaves found in the supermarket in a cellophane plastic bag is not the same as the spicy and bitter arugula that has continued to reseed itself in my garden for the past 20 years.  It’s like a weed, but a welcome weed.   Today’s arugula is sweeter – a different variety perhaps.  However, I think that my tastebuds have also succumbed to its magic.

Bibb lettuce and arugula ready to be tossed with the vinaigrette.

Bibb lettuce and arugula ready to be tossed with the vinaigrette.

The Italians have always enjoyed bitter greens like arugula and chicory, so when I found this authentic Italian recipe for a Bibb & Arugula Salad in La Cucina Italiana magazine, I knew we should make it in our 2012 La Cucina Italiana Cooking Class.  Since then, I have been making it regularly.  The arugula is nicely paired with the more delicate bibb or butter lettuce, which of course, tastes buttery in contrast.  The added radish and zucchini slices also add another level of peppery radish taste complemented by the more buttery zucchini.

Top the salad with the radish and zucchini slices, then the pecorino shavings.

Top the salad with the radish and zucchini slices, then the pecorino shavings.

Whisk together a lemony vinaigrette to combine the flavors and top it off with shavings of Pecorino Toscana or Romano cheese to add a salty balance.

Shave Pecorino slices of cheese with a vegetable peeler or a cheese shaver like the one pictured.

Shave Pecorino slices of cheese with a vegetable peeler or a cheese shaver like the one pictured.

Sara & Mike show off their Bibb & Arugula Salad at our 2012 La Cucina Italiana cooking class.

Sara & Mike show off their Bibb & Arugula Salad at our 2012 La Cucina Italiana cooking class.

I got a nice block of Pecorino Romano from Costco, which didn’t cost me an arm and a leg.  It’s plentiful size meant we didn’t need to skimp on this luxurious garnish.  Use a vegetable peeler or a cheese shaver like the one in the picture to shave the cheese over your salad.  Sample a slice or two along the way.  Yummy!  Pecorino Romano is a hard cheese, but not as hard as parmesan, so it’s easy to shave off the block.

If you’re wondering why arugula is on the menu now, have a look at David Kamp’s book,” The United States of Arugula”…How we became a gourmet nation.    Kamp’s historical account may whet your appetite for…well this Bibb and Arugula Salad recipe.

Print this Recipe

Bibb and Arugula Salad with Pecorino Toscano

  • 1 head  Bibb lettuce, leaves torn
  • 1/4 pound baby arugula leaves
  • 1 small zucchini thinly sliced
  • 5 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 1/2 ounces Pecorino Toscano cheese, thinly shaved

1. In a large serving bowl, combine Bibb lettuce and arugula. Thinly slice the radishes and zucchini and set aside.

2. In a small bowl or salad dressing shaker, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and mustard.

3. Toss dressing into salad.   Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Top with radish and zucchini slices,  cheese shavings and serve.

Servings: 4    178 calories per serving

Preparation Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes

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