Monday, August 26, 2013

A Celebration of Black Olive Tapenade

One of my favorite condiments is olive tapenade.  I love olives, period.  Chopping them up and combining them with anchovies, capers, garlic and herbs only serves to make them even more lovable.  Tapenade is delicious with an innumerable list of foods, but I would be happy simply eating it all by itself....spread on a slice of toasted baguette (crostini)....or even on a cracker.  You can purchase tapenade, already made.  But like just about everything, it is so much tastier when made fresh, by you.  And since it is one of the easiest things you will ever make, you have no excuse not to (at least once) make it yourself.

I have already listed the ingredients for the most basic tapenade.  The only thing I left off the list is olive oil, which serves to hold all the minced ingredients together in a rough paste. 

This simple recipe is the way I usually make it...after the recipe in Lulu's Provençal Table.  But the list of interesting and complimentary ingredients that can be added is long.  You will find recipes that include Dijon mustard, lemon juice, red wine vinegar or brandy.  Green olive tapenades often include almonds.  Toasted fennel spice can be well as cayenne, and orange and/or lemon zest.  Frank Stitt includes a chopped hard cooked egg in his version (and it is wonderful).  

As far as the olives themselves are concerned, you can use anything you like...all black, all green or a mix...oil packed or in brine.  One cautionary note:  Even if you buy your olives already pitted, double check them for pits.  You will almost always find a stray pit or two.  It is much easier to quickly go through them before you throw them in the food processor than to try to fish the bits out of the food processor after you hear a pit come into contact with the blade.

As I mentioned, tapenade has many uses.  I made a batch for a class this past week and used it to stuff under the skin of some bone in chicken breasts prior to searing and roasting.   

Tapenade-stuffed Chicken Breast with
Arugula dressed with lemon and olive oil
and a Provençal Gratin of Fresh Tomatoes and Eggplant
It is also good with lamb—smeared over the interior of a boned out leg before roasting...or thinned with a bit of oil and drizzled over a grilled or pan-seared chop.  And its salty, pungent tang is perfect with fish...perhaps smeared on before baking in parchment or used as a sauce or finishing touch. 
I made more tapenade than I needed for my class (one recipe of chicken only uses about a third of a cup).  I could have made a smaller amount, but it's no more work to make a full recipe...and I knew I would use it up.  I have been happily consuming tapenade every day since.

For lunch the day after my class I made a goat cheese and tapenade tartine.  

To make it, simply toast a large slice of a nice artisanal loaf, drizzle with olive oil and slather on a thick layer of goat cheese (plain or seasoned as you like...garlic, herbs, lemon zest, cracked black pepper, etc.).  The tapenade is also delicious, spread between two slices of bread as in a sandwich...with tuna...or egg...or thinly sliced cold beef or lamb...or roasted vegetables (roasted red peppers are  particularly good with the tapenade...add a smear of goat cheese...and maybe some arugula.....)....or...  Well, I think you get the idea.     

As I was considering what to cook for dinner on Saturday, I was having the difficulties of abundance.  The farmers' market is at its summer peak and I came home with a mountain of beautiful produce.

The temptation to make a big pile of raw, blanched and roasted vegetables and serve them with bread, baked goat cheese and tapenade was great.  But then I remembered that I had some salad greens left from my class too.  With this, I realized I had the makings of a Niçoise-inspired salad.  

The classic Niçoise salad includes greens, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, hard cooked eggs, olives and canned tuna.  Each of the vegetables is dressed individually with the vinaigrette and then arranged on a bed of dressed greens.  The greens and vegetables are then garnished with the tuna (dressed in some of the vinaigrette if you don't have oil-packed), wedges of hard cooked eggs and olives.  For my salad, instead of garnishing with plain olives, I thinned some of the tapenade with some of the vinaigrette and daubed this concoction over everything.  I didn't include any tuna (wasn't hungry for it), but you could of course include it.  Need I say it? was delicious.

I still have a few tablespoons of tapenade left.  I wonder how I will enjoy it next? 

Black Olive Tapenade

8 oz. (1 2/3 cup) pitted Kalamata olives
4 anchovy filets (from two whole salt packed anchovies...or you may use four oil-packed filets)
3 T. capers, rinsed
1 clove of garlic, smashed to a purée with a pinch of salt
1/2 t. each minced thyme and rosemary, or 1 t. minced winter savory
1/4 c. olive oil

Place the olives, anchovies, capers, garlic and savory in the food processor and pulse to produce a coarse purée.  Add the olive oil and pulse a couple of times to incorporate.  

Makes about 1 cup tapenade.  Will keep for at least 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator (keep covered).

(Tapenade recipe from Lulu’s Provençal Table by Richard Olney)

Printable Recipe 

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Tapenade

3 lbs. Chicken breast halves, bone-in, skin-on
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
6 to 8 T. black olive tapenade
white wine or water
Loosen the skin on each breast being careful not to tear or detach the skin from the breast.  Rub each breast with olive oil and season sparingly with salt and pepper.  Using your fingers, spread some of the tapenade under the skin of each breast.  Massage the skin to spread the tapenade evenly.  (Chicken breasts may be stuffed several hours ahead.  Refrigerate until 1/2 hour before ready to use.)

In a sauté pan, carefully brown the chicken breasts in a little olive oil over medium-high heat.  If the pan is not large enough to hold all of the chicken at once, brown in batches.  Transfer the chicken to a 375° to 400° oven and roast until cooked through (depending on the size of the breast, this will take 15 to 30 minutes).  Place the breasts on a clean plate and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes.  Tip the excess fat out of the roasting pan and deglaze with a splash of white wine or water.  Set aside.

Remove the meat from the bone and slice the breast meat, cutting across the grain.  Serve with the drippings poured over the chicken.  Serves 4 to 6.

(Recipe inspired by The Food & Flavors of Haute Provence by Georgeanne Brennan)

Printable Recipe
Niçoise-style Salad with Tapenade
8 to 10 oz.. Small New Potatoes, scrubbed
6 oz. Green Beans, topped and tailed and cut into 2” lengths
1/2 lb. Vine-Ripe Tomatoes (about 8 to 12 oz. total weight), cored and sliced 1/3-inch thick
3 Hard-Cooked Eggs, sliced cross-wise
3 or 4 T. black olive tapenade (or more, if you like)
Red Wine Vinaigrette (see below)
2 or 3 small handfuls arugula
1/4 of a small red onion, thinly sliced and tossed with a splash of red wine vinegar

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender; drain and set aside to cool slightly.  When cool enough to handle, peel and slice 1/4-inch thick.  Toss in some of the vinaigrette while still warm.

Blanch the green beans in boiling salted water until tender.  Drain and spread on kitchen towels to cool.

To assemble the salad:
Place the tapenade in a small bowl and stir in enough vinaigrette to thin to a thick drizzling consistency.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the greens, red onions and green beans with just enough vinaigrette to lightly coat.   Divide half of the egg, tomato and potatoes between two plates...arranging attractively.  Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with some of the tapenade mixture.  Dived half of the lettuce/green bean mixture between the two plates.  Arrange the remaining eggs, tomatoes and potatoes over the greens and season with salt and pepper.  Top with remaining lettuce/green bean mixture.  Drizzle more of the tapenade mixture over all.  Serve right away, passing more of the tapenade mixture separately if you like.  Serves 2.

Red-Wine Vinaigrette:
2 T. Red Wine Vinegar
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed to a purée with a pinch of salt
1 t. Dijon Mustard
Salt and Pepper, to taste
6 to 8 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In a small bowl, whisk together until smooth, the vinegar, garlic, mustard, a generous pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper to taste.  Drizzle in the oil, whisking constantly.

Printable Recipe

Olive oil and balsamic dressed vine ripes with Tapenade
(served with a cheese quesadilla for lunch).

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Pasta with Italian Sausage & Summer Vegetables

I have never been much of a meal planner.  I know that some people (maybe most?) plan several days out and then shop accordingly.  My preference is to maintain a pantry of favorite staples and then shop for fresh produce according to what looks good and what’s in season.  I know I’ll be able to come up with a way to use everything I buy once I get it home.   Often this lack of planning means that I have to run to the store to grab one or two things that I will need for whatever it is I have decided to make for dinner.  It is true that this is a rather inefficient use of my time…but it is also true that my lack of planning allows me to be spontaneous in the things I prepare….matching our meals to the weather…and to my mood. 

This style of meal planning (if you can call it that) occasionally causes difficulties.  A good example of this occurs during the last few days at home just before leaving for a vacation.  It is during these times that a little advance planning—purchasing with specific meals in mind—would come in handy.  As it is, I find that I have usually backed myself into a corner of having to come up with meals that will use up what I have and at the same time won’t require a trip to the store.  I suppose if you are cooking for a larger household, a run to the store would be an option, but for the small household a shopping trip usually produces more than it is possible to use in a single meal (so many things we purchase don’t come in small quantities).  Because I hate to waste food…and I don’t want to return to a produce drawer filled with items in varying stages of decay…everything needs to be consumed or frozen before I leave.  The good news is that this pre-vacation cooking mode sometimes results in some delicious meals. 

Two days before I left for my vacation this year my produce drawer still contained 4 small summer squash, 1 yellow bell pepper, a big bowl of pink-eyed peas and several ears of sweet corn.  On the counter I still had some lovely heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and a few red onions.   The red onions didn’t worry me…these will of course keep.  And as much as I would have liked to enjoy them fresh, I knew the Pink-eyed peas and corn could be frozen.  (I’ll be grateful to have them in the freezer later in the fall and winter).  This left the tomatoes, zucchini and bell pepper on my “must use” list.  So, two nights before my departure, we had my favorite summer pizza made with zucchini and tomatoes.  That left a lone zucchini, one bell pepper and some cherry tomatoes for our final dinner. 

I decided on a pasta dish.  (I surprise there.)  To make my available fresh ingredients into a pasta “sauce” I added some of the red onion, basil from the garden, Parmesan from the pantry and some Italian Sausage from the freezer.  If I had wanted to go meatless, a big handful of black olives would have been an excellent addition.  Looking back, I wish I had had another small zucchini to add.  But even so, the pasta was delicious…a definite keeper…one that I know I will be making again. 

Penne with Italian Sausage & Sautéed  Summer Vegetables

1 4 oz. link Sweet Italian Sausage
2 to 3 T. olive oil
1 or 2 small zucchini (about 4 to 6 oz. total weight)
1 small (or half a medium) red onion (3 ½ to 4 oz.), peeled, halved, cored and sliced lengthwise a scant ¼-inch thick
Salt & freshly ground pepper
1 large yellow bell pepper, topped and tailed, cored, halved cross-wise and cut in scant ¼-inch strips
½ lb. penne pasta (or other short, sturdy shape)
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
½ cup red cherry tomatoes, halved
6 large basil leaves, cut in a ¼-inch chiffonade
Salt & Pepper
¼ c. (3/4 oz.) finely grated Parmesan

In a small ovenproof sauté pan brown the sausage.  I like to let the sausage finish cooking in the oven (350 to 375 degrees), but you can finish it on the stovetop if you prefer…just lower the heat and turn occasionally until the juices run clear.   Remove the sausage from the pan and let rest.  When cool enough to handle, halve lengthwise and then cut each half cross-wise on a short diagonal into ¼-inch slices.

Slice the zucchini on the diagonal a scant 1/3-inch thick, then slice into strips so that each piece resembles the quill shape of the pasta.

Set a large sauté pan (just large enough to hold the onions and peppers in snug single layer) over medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot, add a small amount of olive oil (maybe half a tablespoon).  Add the zucchini and sauté until golden—3 or 4 minutes.  The squash should be pleasantly al dente—definitely not mushy.  If necessary, increase the heat to high to keep the squash from steaming.  Transfer the squash to a plate and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. 

Return the pan to the heat and add a generous splash of olive oil.  When the oil is hot, add the onion and bell pepper.  Season with salt and pepper and sauté, tossing occasionally, until the vegetables are caramelized in spots and no longer crisp but still have some texture (tender with no crunch).   While the onions and peppers are cooking, regulate the heat as necessary to keep them from burning.  If they look dry, add more oil.

When the peppers and onions are done to your liking, set them aside and keep warm while you cook the pasta.

Drop the pasta into 6 quarts of rapidly boiling water seasoned with about 2 Tablespoons of salt.  Stir to make sure the penne isn't sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Cook until the pasta is al dente.  Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. 

When the pasta has three or four minutes left to cook, return the peppers to moderate heat.  When the peppers and onions begin to sizzle, add the garlic and cook until fragrant.  Add the tomatoes, zucchini and sausage to the pan and cook until the tomatoes have just begun to soften (but have not collapsed—the skins will feel “tight” and the flesh will have softened just slightly).  

Add the drained pasta and basil to the pan along with a generous drizzle of olive oil and toss to combine.  If the pasta seems dry, add a splash of pasta water.  Taste and correct the seasoning.  Serve topped with Parmesan, if desired.  Serves 2 to 3.

 - Recipe is easily doubled.  Make sure you choose a sauté pan that is wide enough to hold the onions and peppers without crowding.
 - I was lucky in that I had opposite colored peppers and cherry tomatoes.  If you had a red bell pepper, yellow or gold cherry tomatoes would be nice.  But you should of course use whatever you have on hand.
 - Substitute yellow squash for the zucchini.
 - Omit the sausage and add a third to one half cup of pitted black olives, halved lengthwise.

Monday, August 12, 2013

And Yet Another Summer Salad...Corn Cakes with a Medley of Roasted Corn, Cherry Tomatoes, Bacon & Arugula

It appears that I am on a bit of a salad bender.  Today's post will be my third in a row that features a salad.  I guess that August is truly salad season.  When it's just too hot and steamy to want to eat hot and steamy foods, big platters of vegetables—raw, roasted, grilled or blanched...served chilled or at room temperature—are just what I crave.
It is possible that my definition of "salad" differs from the norm.  Perhaps most people think first of lettuce when they think of a salad.  But in my mind, it isn't really lettuce that makes something a salad.   Today's salad happens to include some, but there was none in the eggplant and chickpea salad I posted last week.  I guess I agree with the definition of salad that Deborah Madison gives in her book Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone:  If you take a platter (or bowl) of vegetables (and/or fruit), and toss (or drizzle) it with a vinaigrette (or dressing), then you have a salad.   With this definition, salads can be light and lean affairs...or they can be hearty, substantial and filling.

Today's salad is a substantial specimen.  It does include lettuce (arugula), but the lettuce is more of a garnish than a main element.  If arugula isn't your thing, you could substitute some baby spinach.  At its heart, this salad is all about the sweet, summer corn...and the juicy cherry tomatoes....and the crisp, salty bacon.  The "vinaigrette" in this case is simply a splash of sherry vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil—both added directly to the bowl of vegetables (no separate whisking—or extra bowl—required).  The sherry vinegar serves to wake up the flavors of the vegetables and the olive oil adds richness, moisture and more flavor.  Even a determined salad hater could probably be enticed into giving this "salad" a try.  And when you add in the fact that this delicious concoction is served on top of a plate of tender and fluffy corn cakes (drizzled with just a  touch of honey), you'll have a dinner for a hot summer day that almost anyone would love.    

Roasted Corn Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Bacon & Arugula

6 strips bacon (5 to 6 oz.)
2 large ears of corn
1 1/2 c. cherry tomatoes (8 oz.), halved
2 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 large handfuls arugula (2 1/2 to 3 oz.)
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 1/2 to 2 t. Sherry Vinegar
1 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
12 Corn Cakes (recipe below)

In a cast iron skillet, cook the bacon over moderately low heat, turning occasionally, until crisp.  Remove to paper towels and break into 1-inch pieces.  (Alternatively, cut the bacon into 1-inch squares prior to cooking.)  Measure the bacon fat and return 2 T. to the pan.  Reserve the pan until you are ready to make the corn cakes.

While the bacon cooks, place the ears of corn in a 375° oven and roast for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle, pull of the husks and silks. Cut the kernels from the cob. You should have about 2 cups corn kernels.

Place the corn, cherry tomatoes, green onions, bacon and arugula in a large bowl. 

Set aside while you prepare the corn cakes.

When ready to serve the salad, season the vegetables with salt & pepper.  Drizzle 1/2 T. sherry vinegar and a tablespoon of olive oil over the vegetables and toss to coat.  Taste.  Correct the seasoning with salt, pepper and more vinegar if necessary.  If the salad seems dry, drizzle in a bit more olive oil. 

To plate the salad, shingle three pancakes in an arc along the edge of four plates.  If you like, drizzle a small amount of honey over the pancakes (don't overdo it...this isn't dessert).  Mound a fourth of the salad in the center of each plate and serve immediately.  Serves 4.

Printable Recipe

Corn  Cakes
1 large ear of corn
1 c. buttermilk (or plain yogurt thinned with a bit of milk)
3/4 c. all-purpose flour (85 grams)
1/2 c. stone ground cornmeal (65 grams)
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
scant 1 t. kosher salt
1 t. sugar
2 T. melted unsalted butter or bacon fat (see note)
2 green onions, minced
1 egg, beaten

Husk the corn.  Cut the kernels away from the cob; scrape the cob with the back of your knife or a large spoon to "milk" the cob.  Scoop up these scrapings along with enough corn kernels to measure 1/2 cup (set the remaining kernels aside for the moment) and purée in the food processor...adding just enough of the buttermilk to facilitate the process.  Combine the puréed corn with the remaining buttermilk and set aside.  

Place the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.  

In a mediums sauté pan, melt the butter or bacon fat (see note).  Add the scallions and cook just until sizzling—about a minute.  Remove from the heat and add the reserved corn kernels, tossing to coat in the hot fat.  Place the egg in a medium-sized bowl and whisk in the corn-scallion mixture—scraping the pan to make sure you get all of the fat.  Whisk in the puréed corn-buttermilk mixture.  

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and fold together in as few strokes as's OK if the batter is lumpy.  The batter should be thick enough to scoop with an ice cream scoop, but if it is too thick, add more of the buttermilk.

Melt some butter in a nonstick or cast iron pan over medium to medium-high heat. Scoop each corn cake using a scant quarter cup of batter, spreading slightly to form 3 inch cakes. Cook until bubbles begin to form and pop on the surface or each cake—about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. 

Carefully flip the pancake over and cook until springy to the touch—another 1 1/2 minutes or so. 

Keep the pancakes warm in a low oven until all of the cakes have been cooked. Makes about 12 pancakes.

Note:  I like to make these with bacon fat.  Cook the bacon for the salad.  When the bacon is cooked, remove to paper towels and measure the fat.  Return 2 T. of fat to the pan (supplementing with butter if you don't have that much bacon fat) and proceed with the recipe—cooking the scallions briefly in the bacon fat instead of melted butter.

(Adapted from Mark Miller's Corn Cakes from the Coyote Café Cookbook)

Printable Recipe

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Another Summer Salad...Roasted Eggplant with Chickpeas & Cherry Tomatoes

Eggplant and Chickpeas:  Probably one of the most satisfying food combinations I know.  I'm sure a nutritionist could tell me why this combination is so fine... why I feel sated, but never stuffed, whenever I eat these two foods together.  But I don't need a nutritionist to tell me that it is delicious....which is another reason I find it so satisfying....and in the long run is why I come back to it again and again.

Recently a photo of an eggplant and chickpea salad showed up on my Facebook timeline.  From Martha Stewart's site, the post linked to a varied array of eggplant recipes.  They all looked good, but it was the salad that I really wanted to taste.  So when eggplant started to show up at the farmers' market a couple of weeks ago, I put this salad on my list of things to make soon.

The main change I made to the salad was to add some halved, multi-colored cherry tomatoes.  I wanted to make the salad more substantial so that I could serve it as an entrée.  But I also wanted to add some color—color that was particularly needed since I served our salad with plain Basmati rice and a quick yogurt and cucumber sauce.  Without  the additional color from the tomatoes, the plate would have been a study in beige and white (interrupted only by the dark skin of the eggplant).  If you don't have any cherry tomatoes, you could accomplish the same thing by serving the original salad on top of some sliced vine ripened tomatoes.  Or, you could serve a simple tomato and cucumber salad alongside.

Before I share the recipe, I feel that I should apologize for the lack of "in process" photos on this post.  (If you have never roasted cubed eggplant before, you can find a picture of it in a post I wrote a couple of years ago about another eggplant salad—the main thing is to not crowd the eggplant as it roasts.)  To be honest, when I made our dinner I had no plans to write a post for this salad—I have changed it so little from the original.  But as has happened a few times before, it was just too good not to share.  If you love eggplant....with'll want to try this salad.

Roasted Eggplant Salad with Chickpeas
and Cherry Tomatoes
3 lbs. eggplant (about 3), trimmed and cut in 3/4- to 1-inch cubes
Salt & pepper, to taste
5 T. olive oil, divided
3 T. strained lemon juice
pinch of cayenne, to taste
1/4 c. chopped fresh mint leaves
1 2/3 c. chickpeas (1 can, drained and rinsed)
1 1/2 c. cherry tomatoes (8 oz.), halved (mixed colors if available)
4 oz. Feta, coarsely broken

Toss the eggplant in a generous amount of olive oil (about 3 T.) and season with salt & pepper.  Divide the eggplant between 2 rimmed baking sheets.  Roast in a 475° rotating the pans from front to back and top to bottom half way through the cooking time.  If you like, "stir" the eggplant once as it cooks by turning it over with a pancake turner.  The eggplant is done when it is golden and tender—about 25 to 30 minutes.

While the eggplant roasts, place the lemon juice in a large bowl along with 2 T. olive oil, a pinch of cayenne, the mint and three or four good pinches of kosher salt.  Add the chickpeas and tomatoes and fold in with a rubber spatula.  

When the eggplant is done cooking, remove from the oven and let cool briefly.  While it is still warm (but not hot), add to the bowl and fold in.  Taste and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper.  Serve warm or at room temperature with the Feta sprinkled over. 

This salad is delicious served with plain Basmati rice and a cool cucumber-yogurt sauce (below).   

Serves 4 to 6.  (The recipes halves easily for a smaller household.)

(Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food)

Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce:  Combine 1/2 cup each coarsely grated, seeded cucumber (peeled if skin is tough)  and plain yogurt (Greek, Traditional Bulgarian style—whatever you prefer—whole milk varieties will be the thickest).  Stir in a scant 1/4 t. each of cumin and coriander.  Season with salt and pepper.

Printable Recipe

Friday, August 2, 2013

Summer Salad of Watermelon, Blueberries & Arugula with Mint

I love the fruits of summer.  Stone fruits, berries, melons and figs...there isn't enough time or enough meals in the day to get my fill.  Every time I go to the store this time of year, I come home with some kind of fruit that I just couldn't pass up.  This week we have had watermelon, cherries, grapes, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and peaches filling the fridge and the fruit bowl on the kitchen counter.  I eat a big bowl of fruit every morning for breakfast...and make desserts every chance I cream, tarts, pies, cakes, cobblers, compotes and crisps.  But even this isn't enough to use up all of the bounty.   More and more I am tucking these fruits of summer into refreshing and light salads—just right for lunch...or a nice addition to a summer dinner. 

Last week I taught a class at The Community Mercantile that included the delicious Watermelon and Avocado salad that I posted last summer.  The watermelon I purchased in the store for my class was so beautiful—juicy, sweet and "seedless"—that I got an extra one for myself.  We have of course enjoyed it in big fat slices, but I also took advantage of the fact that it was seedless to cut it into small cubes and pair it with blueberries in a salad.  The combination is visually stunning.  And it tastes pretty great, too.  

Watermelon & Blueberry Salad with Arugula & Mint

1 T. strained lime juice
1 t. red wine vinegar
1/2 t. honey
2 T. olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste

3 c. 1/2- to 2/3-inch cubes of seedless watermelon (see notes)
1 c. blueberries, well rinsed
3 oz. feta, broken into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 to 1/2 c. thinly sliced cucumber (halve or quarter the cucumber lengthwise and scoop out the seeds before slicing)
1 1/2 oz. (2 small handfuls) arugula
1/2 c. mint leaves (measured by dropping into the cup—don't pack them down), left whole or cut in wide chiffonade if the leaves are very large

Make the vinaigrette:  Place the lime juice, red wine vinegar, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk to combine.  Add the olive oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly.  Taste and correct the seasoning.  Set aside.

Place the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and drizzle in the vinaigrette, using just enough to lightly coat all of the ingredients. Toss to combine.  Taste and correct the seasoning with salt & pepper.

Mound the salad onto a large platter (or individual serving plates) and serve.  Serves 4.

  • You will need a total of 1 cup of fruit (diced watermelon and blueberries) per person.  I like the ratio of 3 parts watermelon to 1 part blueberries, but you should of course vary this to suit your tastes.
  • The watermelon and feta should be in pieces that echo the size of your blueberries
  • You may of course make this salad with a traditional watermelon with seeds, but you will need to remove the seeds...which is a bit of a tedious job.
  • I used a small Persian cucumber from my farmers' market to make this salad but any cucumber will do nicely.
Printable Recipe