- Organic Bound
This elegant and unusual salad showcases some of our favorite harbingers of spring. Piquant, nutty arugula is the perfect foil for sweet English peas, juicy strawberries, and peppery radishes. Sliced goat cheese marinated in tarragon and walnut oil, warmed and served atop a croute, adds a creamy, earthy note the very light, fruity, and slightly sweet Verjus Vinaigrette serves to unite and balance the flavor notes of the salad. "Verjus" is French for "green juice." It's made from unripe grapes and its natural acidity is used to heighten the flavor of marinades, sauces, and dressings in the same manner as vinegar, but without the bite. If you're unable to find verjus in your area, we've included an alternate Champagne Vinaigrette recipe below.
|4 ounces||log goat cheese (chevre) (sliced into 8 rounds)|
|1/4 cup||good-quality walnut oil|
|1 tablespoon||chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon|
|3-inch length of thin French baguette (cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices)|
|8||ripe strawberries (quartered or halved lengthwise)|
|1/2 cup||shelled fresh English peas (about 8 ounces unshelled)|
|4||fresh radishes (sliced paper-thin)|
|1/2 teaspoon||Aged balsamic vinegar|
|2 1/2 tablespoons||walnut oil|
|1/2 teaspoon||dried tarragon|
|freshly ground pepper (to taste)|
Place the goat cheese rounds in a small, shallow dish and drizzle with the walnut oil, coating both sides of the rounds. Sprinkle both sides with tarragon, salt, and pepper, and let sit at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours, turning the cheese once.
Meanwhile, lightly toast the sliced baguette rounds to make croutes. Set aside.
To make the vinaigrette, combine the verjus, balsamic, salt, oil, and tarragon in a small jar, cover tightly, and shake vigorously to emulsify. Add pepper to taste and set aside at room temperature.
Fifteen minutes before serving the salad, set a rack 6 inches below the broiler, and preheat the broiler. Arrange the croutes on a baking sheet and top each round with a slice of goat cheese. Broil until the cheese is warm and begins to soften slightly at the bottom, about 4 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and set aside while you finish assembling the salad.
Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Divide the greens among 4 plates. Arrange one-quarter of the radishes, strawberries, and peas on each bed of greens. Top each salad with 2 of the warm goat cheese croutes and serve immediately.
If you can't find verjus, combine these ingredients into a champagne vinaigrette (follow the same directions as for the verjus dressing above):
1-1/2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
4 tablespoons good-quality walnut oil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste