Cool down with a refreshing salad at Trupiano’s Italian Bistro

In the film, “Eat, Pray, Love,” Julia Roberts aggressively and happily chomps on a pizza, then slurps tomato sauce slathered spaghetti during her journey through Italy. But, Italian food is not just pasta and pizza. In Italy, she could just as easily have torn into a well-made Mozzarella Caprese salad.

However, when most people think of Italian food they do think of pizza and spaghetti, not salads. But, many delicious and inventive Italian salads grace the menus of the world’s Italian restaurants. Eight such salads can be found at Trupiano’s Italian Bistro owned by Faro Trupiano.

As summer melts into fall and the local temperatures stay consistently warm, Trupiano’s salads offer a cool and refreshing respite from the heat.

You can’t have a Trupiano’s salad without sampling their soft and flavorful breadsticks. If you are a fan of these breadsticks, as am I, then you will be happy to hear that they found a way to make them even better. The breadsticks are now larger and, because of this, the inside remains very moist. Swirl your soft breadstick in some olive oil with balsamic vinegar and you will enjoy it as much as Julia Roberts enjoyed her pizza.

Out of the three salads I tasted this week, one is Faro Trupiano’s own recipe and two of them are traditional recipes tweaked by his mother.

The refreshing “Insalata Di Giardino” is Trupiano’s creation with spring mix, baby spinach, sliced green apples, candied walnuts, fresh strawberries and celery with bleu cheese crumbles. The walnuts are “candied” with brown sugar, butter and sometimes a bit of orange zest. They not only add a crunchy texture, but a touch of sweetness. The green apples provide a tart balance to the sweet. Drizzle the house-made raspberry/bleu cheese vinaigrette dressing on top and you’ll want to eat every bite.

Trupiano’s mother is the genius behind the “Insalata Mediterranea,” which is also his favorite salad. Starting with a bed of romaine lettuce, the artichoke hearts, fresh tomato and black olives add color and flavor. Generous portions of cubed feta cheese lend a creamy texture and red onions give it a zesty splash. A house-made Italian dressing coaxes the ingredients to blend in harmony.

The secret to the marvelous flavor of the traditional “Mozzarella Caprese” salad is the fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese. It’s imported from Italy and is kept in water until served. This soft cheese is delicious with tomatoes and fresh basil topped with balsamic glaze and extra virgin olive oil. The salad is also one of Trupiano’s mother’s recipes.

Let’s not forget the wine pairing. I can see Julia Roberts now, sipping red Italian wine with her spaghetti. If she had been eating any of the three salads I have just described she probably would have been enjoying a good Italian Pinot Grigio or even a Vignoles.

According to Trupiano, an excellent wine pairing for the salads is Italian Pinot Grigio.

“It is a crisp, refreshing, summery wine,” he noted. “Or a Vignoles,” he added, “something on the sweeter side – light – light – and an easy drinking summer wine.”

The De Luz winery, Casa Tiene Vista (CTV), “makes a dynamite Vignoles,” noted Trupiano.

Maybe Trupiano’s is one of your familiar haunts or maybe you haven’t tried it yet, but this is certain – try one of their refreshing salads on one of these hot days and you’ll feel like the coolest person in town!

Trupiano’s Italian Bistro is located at 945 South Main Avenue, Fallbrook. Contact them by telephone at (760) 728-0200 or visit www.trupianosbistro.com.

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