Most folks take advantage of rhubarb season by baking the sweet and sour stalk into pies, jams, and muffins, but this week, we have our eyes on a savory recipe: the baby arugula salad with rhubarb, cloumage cheese, and almonds from N.Y.C.’s Perla cafe. The restaurant, which just re-opened in the West Village, is helmed by chef Jack Harris, who created the dish to showcase the fresh flavors of spring. For those unfamiliar with cloumage, Harris describes it as "a delicious soft cheese" that can be purchased at a specialty cheese shop. He adds, "If you can’t find it, it can easily be substituted with high quality ricotta." Try the recipe below.
Baby Arugula Salad with Rhubarb, Cloumage, and Almonds
4 cups arugula
2 tbsp slivered or chopped
1 stalk rhubarb, cut in to 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup Champagne vinegar
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 cup + 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup honey
1. Cut rhubarb stalk in to 1/4-inch pieces.
2. Combine Champagne vinegar, water, sugar and 1 tsp of salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, set aside, and pour over rhubarb. Let rhubarb cool at room temperature in the pickling liquid. Once it’s at room temperature, store in refrigerator until ready to use (can be stored for months).
3. If using whole almonds, give them a rough chop. Toss almond pieces with olive oil and salt and place in an oven at 350°F for approximately 15 minutes until aromatic and golden.
4. To make vinaigrette, combine sherry vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and honey by whisking in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Season cheese with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkling of salt.
6. To prepare the salad, place arugula in a mixing bowl and dress lightly with the sherry vinaigrette. Toss in some almonds and the pickled rhubarb, and stack high on the plate. Add small spoonfuls of cloumage around the plate to your liking.