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Gino Valpredo's Arugula with Oranges

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25-1 Spring Issue
Entertaining the Bakersfield Way by Miles Johnson

For some, salad is the beginning of the meal but for Gino Valpredo, owner and proprietor of Luigi’s, a fresh salad takes its place right next to the main course. When it comes time to serve up dinner, nothing could be simpler than starting with a fresh green salad that you’ve prepared in advance. In this case, Gino suggests pairing the sweetness of fresh orange segments and the peppery tang of arugula. Very few salads can match the sheer simplicity, yet complex taste, of this Italian-inspired course.


  • 4-5 bunches of fresh arugula, stemmed
  • 4 medium oranges
  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • 2 large lemons
  • Parmesan cheese block
  • Extra virgin olive oil


  1. Stem, rinse, and pat dry each bunch of arugula. I suggest layering each bunch of leaves between slightly moistened paper towels and refrigerating until just before serving. This helps to keep the leaves crisp before your guests arrive.
  2. Peel and segment the oranges and set aside until ready to assemble. Cut the lemon into wedges, and set aside.
  3. When you’re ready to serve up the salad, heap the greens into a large chilled bowl.
  4. Sprinkle with half the pine nuts and half the orange segments.
  5.  Using two or three lemon wedges squeeze fresh lemon juice all over the top of the salad, then follow up with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. This is usually done “to taste” so drizzle lightly. Your guests can add more from the remaining lemon wedges, and a cruet of olive oil on the side.
  6. Using a vegetable peeler, create hearty shavings of Parmesan cheese and toss lightly on top.
  7. With a quick pinch of sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, your salad is ready to be savored.

Additional Tips

Entertaining Tip: Give your guests the option of creating their own salad by assembling a small buffet of salad greens and ingredients. A perceptive host will quickly know which ingredients to omit the next time guests arrive.