Salad. It’s one of those things that either people love to eat or feel like they have to eat, like it’s a prerequisite to enjoying the main course. Growing up, salad was simple: often iceberg lettuce, some carrots, maybe a few tomatoes, and a heavy dousing of thousand island dressing. It was an amount of dressing that rendered any heathful gain from the vegetables utterly useless. And although I shamefully admit that I still enjoy thousand island dressing on those rare occasions that nostalgia kicks in, there is a new simple salad that I am currently infatuated with.
This salad comes straight from The Meatball Shop, the very popular and trendy Lower East Side restaurant (they also now have locations in Greenwich Village and Brooklyn) that serves up an impressive offering of mix-and-match meatballs and sauces. Although people come for the meatballs, the salad that is served alongside every sandwich shouldn’t be overlooked.
This salad is simple. I’m okay with that. Sometimes simple is best, with thoughtfully combined, clean flavors. It’s the perfect accompaniment to go along with whatever you’re serving with dinner, or even all by itself for a bright, light, and healthy lunch.
Every ingredient in this salad (all 5 of them) is essential. The fresh peppery bite of arugula. The sweet crisp crunch of honeycrisp apples and sweet burst of cherry tomatoes. The delicate flavor of onion from the chives. The perfectly-balanced apple cider vinaigrette. It’s a simple yet perfect combination.
*The cherry tomatoes are not in the original Meatball Shop recipe. Feel free to omit those if you would like.
Although they recommend using a Fuji apple, I like to use my new favorite varietal: Honeycrisp. They are so ridiculously good. I’ve never met an apple that I am so excited to eat in its natural state more than this glorious specimen. If you can’t find Honeycrisp or Fuji, try another sweet, firm, acidic apple.
The chives are more than just a mere garnish in this salad. They are crucial, and in my opinion, the ingredient that makes this salad special. It’s about time chives were given a starring role
- One 5 ounce bag of Baby Arugula
- 1 Honeycrisp Apple (Fuji or Pink Lady would be a good substitute), thinly sliced
- ¼ cup Chives, thinly sliced
- Handful of Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, halved
- ¼ cup Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- ¾ cup Apple Cider
- ⅓ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Bring the apple cider to a boil in a small pot on medium heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let the cider simmer until the liquid reduces by half. It won't take too long. Allow to apple cider cool.
- Place the reduced cider, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, and Kosher salt in a small mixing bowl and whisk vigorously. While continuing to whisk, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.
- When ready to serve: Dress your salad before plating. Combine the arugula, apple, chives, and tomatoes in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle in the vinaigrette, gently tossing the salad to thoroughly incorporate the dressing.
- *I always start with a smaller amount of the dressing, incorporate it, and then taste, adding in more if necessary. You can always add more vinaigrette, but can't undo an overdressed salad.