I grow my own arugula and this recipe came about as a way to use slightly older than "baby" leaves that had really developed the peppery taste. The sweetness of the vinaigrette and cherries compliments the intense taste of the arugula. If you are using balsamic that is on the acidic side, add a healthy pinch of sugar to the dressing but if you are using a quality balsamic, omit the sugar. The step of "pickling" the shallots in the vinaigrette is key to taming the sometimes overbearing flavor of shallots and ensuring they meld well with the salad rather than take over. —Tony S
Fresh Goat Cheese
1/2 - 3/4
of an English Cucumber thinly sliced
Large or 2 Small Thinly Sliced Shallots
Roasted Sunflower Seeds
2 scant tablespoons
Cherry Preserves or other dark fruit preserves
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
Mix preserves, balsamic vinegar, dried cherries, salt & pepper, and sugar (if using) in a microwave safe dish and microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until preserves melt. Stir to emulsify then set aside at room temperature to cool.
Once vinegar mixture is cool, whisk in olive oil or better yet, combine the two in a container with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously until combined.
Once vinaigrette is made, stir in sliced shallots and allow to sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or make dressing the day before to allow shallots to "pickle" and cherries to soften.
Fish cherries and shallots from vinaigrette and combine with arugula, cucumber, and sunflower seeds in a bowl. Toss salad with enough of the vinaigrette to adequately dress and check for seasoning. Season with salt and pepper if needed.