Arugula and Blackberry Salad with Plum Vinaigrette. A fresh, peppery and sweet summer salad.
It's funny how you can grow to love an ingredient you dislike once you've had it prepared in a memorable way. For me, that ingredient was arugula. Up until five years ago, I wanted nothing to do with arugula. I wouldn't buy it, cook it or order it off any restaurant menu. It was on my “I don't and won't eat that” list. I didn't enjoy it's peppery, herbaceous flavor. I just didn't get it.
My opinion about arugula changed on a trip to Argentina, at a restaurant in Buenos Aires. Someone convinced me to try a dish with arugula. Despite my initial grumbling, I ordered the dish expecting not to enjoy it. Reluctantly, I reasoned with myself that I was on vacation and should try something new. It was in Buenos Aires, in a beautiful outdoor restaurant, that a talented chef prepared a simple meal. Grilled steak with an arugula salad. To my shock and surprise, it was one of the most delicious meals I had eaten in a long time. But why? With each bite, I questioned why I liked it. “How could I be enjoying this? I don't like Arugula!”
Maybe I'd been mesmerized by the city and the shameless amount of beef I had eaten while I was there. That's it. The setting and the meat was messing with my head. I'm pretty sure I came close to consuming an entire cow during my trip. The beef was ridiculously good here. Or maybe it was that second glass of Malbec whispering to me. “Arugula is good. Arugula is delicious. You should eat it more often.” Side note: If a glass of wine starts making suggestions to you in your head, it's time to put down the glass and walk away.
The truth is, I finally had someone prepare and arugula dish with great complimentary ingredients and flavors. Thank you, Chef. You opened my eyes to the possibilities of cooking with arugula. Now, I enjoy eating arugula and love making salads with it
Here are the ingredients you'll need for my Arugula and Blackberry Salad with Plum Vinaigrette:
2 cups fresh arugula
1 cup fresh blackberries
3 plums, 2 diced and 1 cut into ¼” slices
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon shallot, minced
1 teaspoon honey
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
¼ cup goat cheese, crumbled
Finding the best ingredients:
What should you look for when choosing Arugula, blackberries, and plums? Look for arugula leaves that are fresh and green. Avoid any leaves that are yellow or slimy. Larger leaves will be more peppery. When choosing blackberries, make sure they’re plump, slightly firm and vibrant in color. Plums should be semi-soft when squeezed. Don’t feel weird about smelling the plums before choosing them. It’s the best way to tell if they’re ripe. The plums will smell sweet and fruity.
Arugula and Blackberry Salad with Plum Vinaigrette
A fresh, peppery and sweet summer salad.
- 2 cups fresh baby arugula
- 1 cup fresh blackberries
- 3 fresh plums (2 diced and 1 cut into ¼” slices)
- ½ teaspoon Lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon Shallot minced
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ¼ cup White balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup hazelnuts toasted and chopped
- ¼ cup goat cheese crumbled
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place hazelnuts on a small sheet pan and toast for about 3 - 4 minutes. These nuts toast quickly, so keep an eye on them. Remove from oven and let cool.
- In a blender, add diced plums, lemon zest, shallots, honey, white balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Blend until combined.
- With the blender on it’s lowest speed, slowly stream in the olive oil. Pour into container and set aside.
- Take the cooled toasted hazelnuts and roughly chop them. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add arugula. Lightly dress the arugula with the plum vinaigrette. Place desired amount of arugula on plates. Top with blackberries, plum slices, toasted nuts and crumbled goat cheese. Serve immediately.
Want to watch how I made this recipe on my show? Click the video below.