Put a small saucepan, filled halfway with water, over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Stir in the sugar and a pinch of salt. Add the onions and poach until fork tender. Remove the onions from the water to a small bowl and cool. Halve the onions and set aside.
Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette: Chop the garlic and shallot in a food processor or blender. Add the thyme and rosemary leaves and pulse to combine. Add the vinegar, lemon zest and juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. With the motor running, slowly pour in the olive oil until the mixture is emulsified. Pour the mixture into a bowl and stir in the chives. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and set aside.
Heat a small saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the sliced almonds and toast for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir them so they don't burn! Remove from the heat and let cool.
To assemble the salad, put the arugula in a large bowl, add the toasted almonds, grape tomatoes, fennel, cipollini onions, and a few spoonfuls of dressing. Add more dressing, to taste, and season with salt and pepper, if needed. Serve the salad on chilled plates and garnish the top with cheese
This recipe was created by a contestant during a cooking competition. It has not been tested for home use.