November 1, 2010

ode to arugula

[L to R: broccoli, bok choy, kale, kale, spinach, arugula, arugula and then empty rows where the birds ate everything.]

I have tasted the first greens from our garden, and they were spicy, pungent and a little sweet. Arugula! We planted several rows of arugula and have been snipping bunches here and there for salads to go with dinner. I am kind of obsessed with a salad Mark first made last week -- arugula, thinly sliced pear, a few crumbles of chevre and a lemon-honey-thyme vinaigrette. It's a fairly simple, why-didn't-I-think-of-that combination that is especially good with juicy Asian pears from the market. I've been making it again and again, to accompany fennel-carrot soup one night, duck confit and fried potatoes another night, celeriac soup for lunch and fresh papperdelle with ragu bolognese last night. I particularly like how the sharpness of the arugula plays off the rich dishes, but it is also just right with a simple soup.

Hope everyone had a nice Halloween! We had a small (non-themed) dinner party and I set out lots of miniature (read: adorable) pumpkins on the front steps. We had ZERO trick-or-treaters, though -- my fix for costumed kids  was not met. I'll have to console myself with all my pumpkins, but I wonder if I can return all the Halloween candy I bought? Those Snickers are not safe with Mark around...

Arugula salad with shaved pear and goat cheese
From Food & Wine

I tend to add dressing so that the leaves are just lightly glistening (i.e. not a lot) so, in our house, the vinaigrette will make enough for one big salad (for 4) or two small salads (for 2). You may like more. I keep any remaining dressing in a Ball jar in the refrigerator; just stir/shake well to incorporate the ingredients before using. I also think the recipe is fairly versatile: apple could be subbed for pear, another kind of green -- or even fennel or grated carrots -- could be subbed for the arugula, you could leave out the goat cheese and try blue cheese, you could add toasted nuts, etc.

For the vinaigrette:
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon honey, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon chopped thyme
salt and freshly ground pepper

For arugula/pear/chevre salad:
two generous handfuls of arugula, washed and dried (roughly 2.5 ounces)
1 small Asian pear or half of 1 large Asian pear
fresh chevre, crumbled (as much or as little as you want)
small handful of toasted nuts, if desired

In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, honey and chopped thyme. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cut the pear open, core and thinly slice (we used a mandoline). I like to cut each thin slice in half to make it easier to eat. Wash/dry your arugula and add to a salad bowl, along with the pear slices. Gradually add the dressing, folding the mixture as you go, until each leaf/pear slice is lightly dressed with the vinaigrette. You may not need all the vinaigrette. Top with crumbled goat cheese (and nuts, if desired) and serve.

1 comment:

Lan Jones said...

Hi honey,
Thanks for all those beautiful pictures. I enjoy looking at them . The luscious greens in the garden, the artistic landscapes, the delicious foods, and the happy faces are so pleasant to look at that they brighten up any dreary day. You are such good photographer.Please keep them coming. We're very glad that you two are living such a happy and wonderful life.