Thursday, September 22, 2016

Recipe: Arugula Salad with Pan-Fried Herbed Potatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Feta Cheese & Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette

A flavor-packed main course salad bursting with seasonal bounty (recipe here).

This scrumptious Arugula Salad with Pan-Fried Herbed Potatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Feta Cheese and Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette is one of those dishes that becomes much more than the sum of its parts. And it's a perfect way to celebrate the flavors of late summer and early fall from the garden and farmers market.

Despite my Irish ancestry, I'd never been big on potatoes—often going literally years without eating any—until I moved to the country and for some reason decided to try growing my own. Wow, what a difference. Though what possessed me to plant 250 feet of potatoes that first year I will never know. I didn't even know what a potato plant looked like.

This year I have a much more reasonable 16 feet of Yukon Gold and (some already forgotten variety of) red potatoes in my organic kitchen garden, but they went into the ground so late I still haven't dug any up yet.

These crisp, herby potatoes also taste great on their own, and the quick kalamata olive dressing is nice on other salad greens too.

The best thing about arugula is that you can quickly and easily grow this cold tolerant and nutritious peppery green from seed (baby leaves are ready for picking in about a month) and if you let some of it bloom, it will reseed itself.

No arugula? Try some crunchy romaine lettuce instead; or use some of each. For the last few years my favorite variety of lettuce to grow has been an heirloom romaine called Parris Island Cos, which tastes great and is amazingly heat tolerant. I wish I'd discovered it 20 years ago.

The combination of ingredients and the vinaigrette are what's most important with this salad, not the specific amounts. So once you've made the recipe, you'll be able to toss everything together more quickly next time. To make it a more substantial meal, simply add some slices of leftover grilled chicken or steak.

As always, I urge you to seek out local and organic ingredients. They really do make a difference. I don't, however, recommend planting 250 feet of potatoes for two people, no matter how much garden space you have available.

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