I have said this many times and the French know it all too well – it’s all about the ingredients. The quality of the items you are working with to create your dish makes all the difference in the world. This arugula, roasted beets and scallion salad I made of “just picked that morning” produce was so simple, so delicious, it was to die for. I topped it with a fresh lemon juice dressing and it was a dancing fresh, total yum feel in your mouth. It doesn’t get much better than that!!
On our way up to the Hudson Valley yesterday, we were finally early enough to make it to the Farmer’s Market in Milan and Ethel of Red Hook Farm had just picked the arugula and pulled the beets in the morning. I am so tired of store bought arugula that has zero flavor, aren’t you? Those boxes of baby arugula look all pretty and nice but really, they are tasteless.
This arugula was the big leaf variety, light in texture and full of peppery punch, just the way arugula should be! Because the texture was so light, you could eat a lot of these luscious leaves. The beets grew long and skinny, as opposed to round huge things, so they roasted quickly in 40 minutes at 425 degrees. And the scallions were a bright spring onion flavor. All so fresh, so simple, so delicious, the way all food should be.
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Now the rest of my meal yesterday sucked! I decided to try something new and…it didn’t work. 🙁 So I had some lamb cubes and a craving for pasta. With the grill here, I thought it would be interesting to brown the salted and peppered lamb on the grill – on a grill pan – make the tomato sauce on the stove top and then simmer the cubes in the sauce. Only I think I needed like 3 hours of simmer time to get those babies tender. I thought these were leg of lamb cubes but nope, it was lamb cubes for stew. To make things further worse, all I had here was white rice pasta – a pretty yucky combo with the tough meat.
Oh well, but the salad was magnificent!
Here’s what I did:
ARUGULA, ROASTED BEETS AND SCALLION SALAD – serves 2
2 bunches of farmstand large leaf arugula, trimmed, washed, spun dry and chilled
5 small beets, trimmed and scrubbed
1 Tbs. olive oil
3 scallions, white and light green parts, sliced
½ tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbs. lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place beets in the middle of a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle with 1 Tbs. olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Close up foil tightly to make a neat packet and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes until beets are tender and easily pierced with paring knife. Let cool a bit so you can handle and peel. Slice into ¼” slices.
For the dressing, whisk together the lemon juice and mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow steady stream to emulsify.
Toss together the arugula, beets and scallions. Drizzle on the salad dressing, just enough for your taste. Toss everything well and serve with LOVE.
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