When planning your Valentine’s day dinner (or any other special occasion), try this refreshing salad recommended by Chef Suzanne Goin as a first course before any decadent meal. (Goin recently served this dish at the 2011 Screen Actors Guild Awards.)
Adapted from "Sunday Suppers at Lucques" by Suzanne Goin.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast 8-10 minutes, until they’re slightly darkened and smell nutty.
Slice the stem and blossom ends from the blood oranges. Stand the blood oranges on one end and, following the contour of the fruit with your knife, remove the peel and white cottony pith. Work from top to bottom, rotating the fruit as you go. Slice each orange thinly, into 8-10 pinwheels.
Place the Parmigiano-Reggiano flat side down, on a cutting board. Using a chef’s knife, shave 18 large thin (but not too thin!) slices of cheese from the hunk.
Scatter 1/3 of the arugula on a large platter. Arrange 1/3 of the oranges, dates, cheese, and nuts. Scatter another layer of arugula and continue layering in the same manner, letting the ingredients weave together, but not pile up on one another. Drizzle the almond oil over the salad, and season lightly with fleur de sel, freshly ground black pepper and a squeeze of blood orange juice.