arugula salad with goat cheese and pine nutsPosted: August 6, 2011
When I was in GA a few weeks ago, my parents and I went to a charming little Italian restaurant in Midtown Atlanta, called Pasta da Pulcinella, which I highly recommend to anyone in the area. Lots of tasty food was consumed that evening, including some of the best bread I have had at a restaurant, and ravioli stuffed with sausage and apples in a brown butter sage sauce with an apple cider reduction (yum), but the part I knew I’d be trying to recreate was the arugula salad my mother ordered, which I kept picking from until she let me have the rest of it. When I saw bunches of arugula at the farmer’s market a few days ago, I knew the time had come to try my hand at it.
This salad is nutty from the arugula and pine nuts, tangy from the goat cheese, and is brought together with a creamy lemon vinaigrette. I’m usually not that creative with salads, and eat them more out of a sense of duty than anything else. This salad, though, I have been craving ever since having it back in July, and I am pleased that I managed to make it taste exactly like I remember it the first time around. There are all sorts of creative ways to dress up salad greens, so I’ll be endeavoring to make my salad eating more enjoyable in the future.
Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts
Measurements are all very approximate here; it’s not like one measures salad greens out by the cup. Aside from the salad dressing, you should just use as much as you need of various ingredients to serve however many people you are serving. You can double the salad dressing, if needed. A word on raw eggs: they don’t bother me, so I don’t mind using them in salad dressings, etc. The egg yolk is what makes the dressing creamy, but if it freaks you out, you can just make a simple vinaigrette of lemon juice and olive oil (I imagine a bit of red wine vinegar wouldn’t be out of place here either). I’m pretty confident the restaurant version included egg yolk. Be sure to use fresh, good quality eggs that don’t have any cracks in the shell, and try to avoid letting the yolk touch the outside of the egg shell – if there’s any salmonella hanging about, it’s usually on the outside of the egg shell.
For the lemon vinaigrette:
1 large egg yolk
1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the salad:
1 bunch arugula
Goat cheese (use chevre here)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
To make the vinaigrette, place the egg yolk and 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste, into a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Pour in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly, so that the mixture emulsifies properly (i.e. combines into a creamy, homogenous mixture, instead of separating). Refrigerate until ready to use. Makes about 1/3 cup of dressing.
To make the salad, wash and dry the arugula (in a salad spinner, if you have one, or using paper towels). Place the arugula in a serving bowl, and crumble in as much goat cheese as you would like with a fork. Sprinkle on as many pine nuts as you want. Drizzle on dressing, and toss until all leaves are thoroughly coated. Depending on how much salad you are making, you may not need all of the dressing – I only made it for myself today, and used a little less than a tablespoon of dressing. Salt and pepper to taste, toss again, and serve.
Inspired by Pasta da Pulcinella