A date with a salad

Here’s an impressive little winter/spring salad that we can’t get enough of, courtesy of Suzanne Goin’s Sunday Suppers at Lucques.

Toast a generous handful of blanched, skinned, unseasoned almonds in a medium-hot pan or a 350 degree oven, until they are fragrant and very lightly golden-browned and mottled.

Quarter a dozen dried dates, removing the seed (duh).

Using a sharp knife, carefully cut away the peel, pith and outer membrane of 2 blood oranges, and cut each into 1/4 inch thick rounds. Be careful to reserve any juice.

On four individual plates, layer the salad thusly:

A third of a serving of baby arugula leaves
A drizzle of roasted almond or walnut oil
A couple of pieces of date
A couple of wheels of blood orange
A drizzle of reserved blood orange juice (If your oranges are reluctant to yield any extra juice, you can supplement with a tiny bit of freshly squeezed orange juice.)
Repeat x3, and top with a few shavings of parmigiano reggiano

This salad is especially welcome before or after roast chicken or mild, white-fleshed fish. Because it is not dressed with a strong vinaigrette, it also holds well; this makes it a nice choice for a bring-to-work salad.

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