Opposites attract and sometimes produce a surprising harmony. Such is the case with this colourful salad of sweet grapes, spicy rocket and buffalo mozzarella. The icing on the cake: the light liquorice note from the tarragon. We like to eat this salad as an antipasti. But it also goes well with grilled meat.
Autumn is grape time
The first grapes are harvested in midsummer, and the big harvest begins in September. In Italy, hundreds of varieties are processed into wine. Table grapes are increasingly being grown seedless, although grape seeds are considered to be very beneficial to one's health. In any case, your fruit vendor will have a selection to choose from starting in late summer. Different spicy types of rocket may even be available also. Try which one appeals to you.
Rocket, a favourite in Italy’s kitchens
We Italians love rocket. The relative of the dandelion grows wild or is cultivated. Wild arugula, as it is also known, tastes pungent and only the young leaves are tender. In many cultivated forms, the pungency is toned down and the leaves also do not become “woody”. In Italy, arugula seeds are often used instead of mustard seeds for mostarda, a sweet and spicy pickled fruit. Rocket leaves form a congenial team with tomatoes, but are just as happily combined with potatoes, pizza or poultry, as well as preserved as a pesto. And when my grandma couldn't find chamomile for her evening tea, she would pick arugula. The tea is more bitter, but just as soothing.
Grape salad with rocket, tarragon and mozzarella
- 400 g red grapes
- 200 g rocket
- 100 g mozzarella, buffalo
- 1-2 large sprigs tarragon
- 4-6 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lemon juice
- 1 tbsp honey mustard
- 2 tbsps seeds , or nuts to taste: hazelnuts cashews, sunflower seeds, almonds
- Wash the arugula, grapes and tarragon and pat dry. Remove coarse stems from arugula if necessary. Cut grapes into halves. Chop the buffalo mozzarella. Place arugula and grapes in a wide bowl. Pluck leaves from the tarragon sprigs and mix half into the salad. Roast seeds or nuts in a non-stick pan without oil and chop coarsely.
- Put the lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper in a sealable container and shake well. This is the best way for the somewhat thick mustard to mix with the other ingredients. Add the marinade to the salad. Decorate with the roasted nuts, buffalo mozzarella and the remaining tarragon and serve immediately.
(a course in itself or as a side dish)
Tips: Instead of buffalo mozzarella, try spicy Gorgonzola or goat's cheese in a grape salad. Vegans can simply leave out the cheese and treat themselves to an extra portion of nuts. Instead of the nuts, or in addition, you can also fry white bread cubes in olive oil, salt them a little and sprinkle them over the salad.