[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.