Recently, I shared a recipe for Toasted Orzo Mac & Cheese, cobbled together after inspiration struck in the form of a couple of visits to B&G Oysters, a restaurant in Boston’s South End. For that side dish, the B&G team used Parmigiano Reggiano. At the opposite end of the cheese aging scale, however, they offered another delicious dish on their menu: arugula salad paired with citrus and their house-made ricotta – a fresh, young, milky cheese.
The salad was simple but delicious in that it balanced the bite of the arugula with the creamy, sweet and cool ricotta. The citrus (blood oranges the first time I had the dish) brought brightness, acidity and a touch of sweetness to the plate.
As with B&G’s mac and cheese, I was inspired to attempt its recreation at home – at first using blood oranges and then, as the season passed, a range of other orange varieties. For the cheese, I used the ricotta we carry here in the shop. The ricotta we source is wetter than B&G’s house-made cheese and, as a result, I instantly had the effect of a creamy dressing once the salad had been tossed. The cheese was not my only dressing though; I used a little bit of vinaigrette too. Simple, tasty and fresh – this is an easy combination to riff on, both in the summer and in the winter.
Arugula, Blood Orange + Ricotta Salad
Serves: 2-3 (as a side)
4 cups arugula, washed
¼ – ½ cup fresh ricotta
Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a jar – seal with lid and shake until emulsified. Place the arugula in a bowl. Using a paring knife, remove the skin of the orange and segment pieces into the salad, being sure to remove all seeds. Dollop the ricotta on the salad and drizzle over dressing to taste (you will probably have more dressing than you need). Toss and serve.
Mary is a baker and cheesemonger at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge.