Arugula Salad with Baked Ricotta
Created by Judy Rodgers, Zuni Café, San Francisco
Servings: Serves 4
  • 12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) fresh ricotta cheese , preferably sheep's milk
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 small clove garlic , halved
  • 2 small or 1 large bunch arugula (6 to 8 ounces), stemmed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar , or to taste
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes , stemmed and halved
Preheat broiler. In a small bowl, mash ricotta with a wooden spoon to soften. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place in a shallow 1-cup gratin dish and spread to make an even layer. (Don't bother to smooth surface, as little crags of cheese will bake darker than the rest and provide flavor and texture.) Place under broiler, 6 inches from heating element, and bake until heated through, about 8 to 9 minutes. Surface should be speckled with dark brown or black char marks. Remove from broiler and set aside.

Rub cut garlic over inside of a large salad bowl. Add arugula, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and a generous pinch of salt. Gently toss arugula with olive oil. Add vinegar and toss again. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Add tomatoes and gently fold in to distribute. Arrange salad on individual plates. Top with warm cheese and sprinkle with ground pepper.