Tuesday Dinner: Summer Fruit and Arugula Salad

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I do read other food blogs when looking for inspiration for menus around her at Al Dente HQ. I don’t just troll The Kitchn and Serious Eats, though it could easily seem like I do. One of the better recipe blogs out there is Two Peas and Their Pod, written by a husband and wife team from Utah.

They have a great balance of written and visual content of which I am jealous. I think my photography is getting better here, but I know I’m far away from where I want to be. I’m also a little envious of their readership numbers. Something tells me they draw a larger audience than I do here. Nothing against you, dear reader, but the goal of any writer is to have his or her work seen by as many people as possible. I’m constantly looking for ways to grow these numbers and it seems to be one of the harder parts of this game.

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Anyhow, their recipes are attainable and make use of fresh ingredients available in their part of the country. This salad utilizes two fruits that are in full season and easy to obtain at your local grocer or farmer’s market: blueberry and peaches. You don’t often think of these as complementary flavors, but the combination of tart berry and sweet peach work nicely together. Binding everything together is goat cheese and, really, how can you go wrong with goat cheese?

WHAT WORKED: The dressing was interesting. I don’t have any white balsamic in the house. Truth be told, I don’t like it. Instead, I used white wine vinegar and a splash of lemon juice.

WHAT DIDN’T: I purchased chicken thighs that I was going to grill as a protein for the salad, but I forgot to marinate them. I wasn’t going to doing anything crazy, but I figured some lemon juice would do the trick. Anyhow, I whiffed and picked up a refrigerated, already cooked chicken breast at Wegmans.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: “I like this, honey. It’s good.” Though she could have been talking about the honey in the vinaigrette. I never know.

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Oh hell yes. It’s the perfect base for whatever fruit is in season: apples in the fall, or citrus in the winter and spring.

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Summer Fruit and Arugula Salad
Adapted from the original at Two Peas and Their Pod

  • 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • Liberal splash of lemon juice
  • Sea salt and crushed black pepper, to taste
  • 2 stiff peaches, cut in half, pits removed
  • granulated sugar
  • 4 oz. fresh arugula or arugula blend
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup roasted almonds
  • 2 to 3 oz. goat cheese
  • 1 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed

Preheat your grill or grill pan.

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In a small mixing bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and honey together. Taste, adjust with salt and pepper, and whisk again. Set aside.

2014-07-29 at 17-19-00Set peaches skin side down on a plate. Sprinkle with sugar and salt. Set on the grill grates and cook 5 to 7 minutes until soften and charred. Check periodically to make sure the peach doesn’t burn through. Remove from the grill, let cook slightly, and slice.

Add arugula, fruit and almonds to a serving bowl and toss quickly. Top with goat cheese and chicken. Give the dressing one last whisk, then pour over the top. Toss gently and serve.

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