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The four components of this composed salad mix, match and meld in a wonderful way. The tomatoes provide natural sweetness, the arugula gives bite and depth, the parsley-pine nut dressing is tart and assertive, and the warm mozzarella is oh-so-rich. The technique of breading and warming the mozzarella maybe new to you, but don’t worry; it’s fast and easy, and the result is beautiful.
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, packed
- 1 or 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 cups arugula (about 2½ ounces)
- 2 small tomatoes
- ¼ cup bread crumbs
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 egg-shaped balls of fresh mozzarella (about ⅓ pound)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Toast the pine nuts in a single layer on an unoiled baking sheet in a conventional or toaster oven at 3500 until lightly browned and fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- In a blender, whirl the parsley, garlic, salt, olive oil, lemon juice, water, and toasted pine nuts until smooth and emulsified; pour into a cruet or small pitcher.
- Wash and dry the arugula and lay the leaves on a large platter or on individual salad plates.
- Cut the tomatoes into wedges and arrange them on the arugula.
- Mix together the bread crumbs and salt in a large bowl.
- Cut the fresh mozzarella into ½-inch cubes. Place the cubes in the bowl with the bread crumbs and toss to coat well.
- Heat a heavy iron skillet until almost smoking. Remove the hot skillet from the heat, add the teaspoon of olive oil, and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.
- Add the breaded mozzarella cubes and shake the pan to heat them evenly. The trick is to warm them until they become soft and to stop before they become rubbery. Have a bowl nearby so you can scoop them out at just the right moment. You should be able to see or feel the cubes get soft, but if milky-colored whey seeps out, you’re overheating them.
- Arrange the warm mozzarella cubes on the bed of arugula and tomatoes and pass the dressing separately.
PER 6-OUNCE SERV1NG: 308 CALORIES, 11.7 G PROTEIN, 24.9 G FAT. 12.1 G CARBOHYDRATES, 6.4 G SATURATED FATTY ACIDS, 22 MG CHOLESTEROL, 700 MG SODIUM, 1.7 G TOTAL DIETARY FIBER