Arugula Salad with Persimmon and Stilton

Persimmon Salad 1

Can you believe Thanksgiving is here already? I shudder to think of how little time remains before Christmas. I tend to get so overwhelmed with stuff to do I end up not doing anything. Or, I jump from task to task and never finish anything. Not a great way to get things done. So, I’m trying the “three big rocks” method of time management…pick three things and don’t do anything else until you get those three things done. It sounds great on paper, doesn’t it?

Persimmons top down 1

The problem is, although I can stay laser focused at work, at home I am easily distracted. And there are a lot of distractions – the dog, the cats, a stack of cooking magazines to go through, cook books to rearrange, a birthday present for my husband to buy…

Salad closeup 2

This is the time of year that I really want to take the time to enjoy. I want to sit in front of that fire and read a book, or get outside and enjoy the fall crispness in the air. Experiment with some ingredients I don’t always cook with.

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Persimmons are one of those beautiful fall fruits that I’m always telling myself I should play around with, but never seem to get around to. I’m not a fan of eating them by themselves, but when I saw this recipe I had to try it. I had a bag of Meyer lemons in the fridge and loved the idea of a side salad that was more than our usual Romaine lettuce and vinaigrette.

persimmon salad 3

For those of you still looking to add one more side dish to the Thanksgiving table, this salad is it. Healthy, but definitely not boring – slightly bitter greens are paired with sweet persimmons, zinged with some Meyer lemon, and finally given a note of decadence with some creamy Stilton cheese. The variety of flavors in this salad will go with any fall meal. And it’s incredibly easy and fast to make. That’s a win win for the busy holiday season.

persimmon salad recipe 4

Arugula Salad with Persimmons and Stilton

Serves 4

If you can’t find Meyer lemons, regular lemons will work just fine. Meyer lemons are sweeter, so if you use regular lemons add an additional half a tablespoon or so of honey to the dressing. This salad is best served right after making it. But if you want to prepare it ahead, make the dressing separately and dress the salad right before serving.

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 Meyer lemon finely diced with peel

2 teaspoons Meyer lemon juice (from 1 Meyer lemon)

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced radicchio (1 large head or 2 small)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

2 quarts baby arugula

2 ripe Fuyu persimmons, top removed, halved and sliced into half-rounds

1/2 cup crumbled Stilton or other blue cheese (2 ounces)

Whisk the olive oil, diced lemon, honey, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a large bowl you intend to serve the salad in.

Add the radicchio, arugula, and persimmons and toss with the dressing.

Divide the salad among four plates and top with the Stilton.

Adapted from Sunset Magazine, November 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warm Goat Cheese Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Goat Cheese 1

Snow day!  We don’t get too much snow here in Northern Virginia, so, when it does snow, it’s an event.  It started late yesterday afternoon, and, okay, it’s only an inch or so, but it’s snow!  When I got up at 4 a.m. to go to work, it was still snowing, the roads looked horrible, and I knew there was no way I was going to drive in this stuff.  Never mind that I used to drive in much worse in Germany.  Ahh, what good pair of snow tires will do for your car.  Anyway, I had two choices, ride to work with my husband or take the day off.  Hmmm, what to do?

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I grabbed my camera, went outside and started taking pictures.  The sun was just starting to come up, and the light was beautiful.  I stay pretty busy, and don’t often just stop and look at the beauty around me.  I did that this morning and realized I need to do a lot more of it.

Goat Cheese 2

Snow on the ground signifies that I can continue the Christmas season just a little longer.  The recipe I’m sharing today is a beautiful salad I made for Christmas Eve.  I loved it so much I made it again for New Year’s.  The colors, red pomegranate, green arugula, and white goat cheese, make it perfect for Christmas, but don’t limit yourself to just making it for Christmas.

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Goat cheese salad, a French favorite of mine, is great any time.  And you could easily mix it up by adding or substituting ingredients, such as using frisee with a Dijon vinaigrette.  However, don’t skip the goat cheese.  Breaking into the crispy exterior of the cheese to the soft melty interior is what makes this salad.

Goat Cheese 3

Warm Goat Cheese Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

4 Servings

This recipe can easily be doubled.  It can be made gluten free by using gluten-free flour and panko.  The best way I have found to cut goat cheese into smooth slices is to use dental floss.  If you don’t have any on hand, a knife dipped in hot water is also helpful.  Leftover vinaigrette would be delicious on a spinach salad with bacon.  You will need to allow the vinaigrette to warm up to room temperature before using.   

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice

1/3 cup olive oil

5 teaspoons honey

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

salt and pepper to taste

Salad

1/4 cup arils (seeds) from half a pomegranate

2 4-ounce logs goat cheese

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 egg whites

1 cup panko

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 5-ounce container baby arugula

2 navel oranges, peeled and sectioned

Prepare the vinaigrette.  Bring the pomegranate juice to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the juice is reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 15 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool, about 30 minutes.  Whisk in remaining vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.

If using a whole pomegranate, remove the seeds.  I have found the best way to do this is to cut the fruit into chunks and use my fingers to remove the seeds in a bowl of water.  The seeds float to the top and the fibrous fruit chunks sink.  Place the seeds in a bowl and set aside.

Slice each log of goat cheese into 6 slices.  Set up a 3–station breading area by place flour and pepper in a shallow dish, the egg whites and 2 tablespoons water in a second dish, and the panko in a third dish.  Dredge the goat cheese rounds in the flour, thoroughly wet them by dipping in the egg white mixture then thoroughly dredge them in the panko. Arrange on an aluminum foil–covered plate or pan, cover, and chill for at least 30 minutes.  Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet and fry the cheese rounds 2 minutes per side or until lightly browned.  Drain on paper towels.

Assemble the salad by dividing the arugula and orange sections between four plates.  Drizzle with the pomegranate vinaigrette.  Sprinkle each salad with some of the pomegranate seeds, then top each with three cheese rounds.  Serve immediately.

Adapted from Southern Living A Very Special Christmas, December 2012