Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese 2.26.11

Nothing quite compares to the crisp, nutty and mild spice of fresh arugula. This early into Spring we’re happy to purchase greenhouse grown arugula from Long Island, NY and it’s not a compromise, at all. The pale, soft and creamy accompaniment of goat cheese always makes for a delicious balance in salads. Since it doesn’t feel entirely like Spring yet we decided to jump ahead a couple of seasons and also include greenhouse grown cucumber as well as tomato into the salad. Homemade vinaigrette with lime lets the flavors of salad shine.

Makes: 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes

The How To
Peel and cut the shallots lengthwise into thin slices, about 1/4” each. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a medium sized frying pan. Toss the shallots into the frying pan and cook for 5-7 minutes of medium heat, stiring occassionally, salt and pepper to taste. Once the shallots are soft take them out of the pan and set aside.

In the meantime, gently clean the shitake mushroom with a slightly damp paper towel (if the stem is still on the mushroom break it off). Cut the mushroom into 1/2” slices and set asside. Or, if the shallots are done cooking transfer to a plate and you’re ready to cook the mushrooms! Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the frying pan and let melt. Place the mushrooms in the frying pan so that they are all laying flat and not overlapping - add a pinch of salt to them and cook for 5 minutes on each side. Before you flip them over with a fork drizzle a little bit of balsamic vinegar on them, not too much!

While the mushrooms are cooking wash, rinse and dry the arugula and set asside. Chop the cherry tomomatoes lengthwise and set asside. Quarter the cucumber lengthwise into four long spears and than chop them into smaller peices and set with tomatoes (keep and eye on the mushrooms! don’t want to over cook them). Slice the goat cheese lengthwise into thin slices, not too thin or they will crumble, set asside.

For the dressing mix 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Roll the whole lime on a flat surface applying medium pressure with your hands. Cut the lime in half and squeeze one or both halfs into the olive oil vingegar mix. Mix in a teaspoon of extra coarse dijon mustard. Add a pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper to taste and stir well.

You’re ready to construct the salad! First, place a bed of arugula in the center on each plate. Second, scatter the cucumber and tomaotes around the perimiter of the arugula. Third, place the mushrooms and goat cheese on the edge of the plates. Fourth, carefully toss the shallots on top of the bed of arugula. *If you like spice, toss the jalapeno ontop of the arugula too. Lastly, mix the dressing one more time with a fork and sprinkle it evenly on each salad.

*Depending on if you’d like a little spice in your salad is up to you. If yes, carefully cut the top of the jalapeno pepper, de-seed half of the pepper into your trash can with a spoon trying not to touch the seeds with your hand. Once the pepper is seeded dice half of it into small peices and garnish the salad.

3 table spoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon extra coarse dijon mustard
1 shitake mushroom
1 medium size cucumber
1-2 bunches of arugula
1 pint cherry tomoatoes
2 small shallots
1 lime
*1 jalapeno pepper

The Story and Breakdown

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