Preparing a beautiful, simple, Arugula Salad

Insalata — Formulating the perfect simple salad

Most of my summers as a young girl in Italy were spent at my grandparents’ house in Recale. Two of my cousins lived right around the corner and one day they took me for a walk to pick some wild greens and some oranges from the family garden.  Little did I know I was about to taste a little bit of heaven that day!

We returned with handfuls of a delicious type of green that looked and tasted similar to mâche, but this lettuce was heartier and that heartiness added a deliciousness that couldn’t be matched. After barely rinsing the leaves and patting them dry, we added a little extra virgin olive oil, salt, some sections of juicy oranges and tossed it all together. It is to this day one of the yummiest salads I have ever eaten. My mom calls the type of lettuce we picked “pierchicchelle” but I have been unable to find it in America.

I am a math teacher, so I naturally appreciate formulas and tend to think of basic formulas when I cook. I like to use the formula I gleaned that day with my cousins for many of my salads. To me, just a couple of really fresh yummy ingredients tossed together makes the perfect simple salad. Here are a few of our favorite combinations:


Mâche Salad, CASAGIOVE California mâche
sections of blood oranges with its juice
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt


Arugula Salad, CASAGIOVE California

shaved parmigiano reggiano
balsamic vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt

butter lettuce + radicchio

Butter lettuce & Radicchio Salad, CASAGIOVE California

butter lettuce
lemon juice
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
kosher salt

Whichever flavor combination you choose, the key is to use the best, highest-quality ingredients and this is particularly true of the extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Both will be served uncooked, so it’s important that they are rich and able to hold their own and enhance the other elements in your salad.

We did a lot of taste comparisons, and found what we feel to be the best intersection of price, flavor, and versatility. Both are available in:

CONDIRE – The Olive Oil and Vinegar Gift Set


What are your favorite simple salad combinations and meal pairings?  I’d love to hear!


Patricia Bergen
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Grazie for sharing!
Posted in Fai da te — Recipes & Projects.

Patricia Bergen

Shopping for and preparing meals with family in Italy was a beautiful experience— one that I dreamed about sharing with my community in Dana Point, California. CASAGIOVE, an Italian market experience, is the expression of that dream and I'm so happy to share it with you!

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