The other day, my friend Lynn wrote an inspiring column about a recent trip to the farmers market in which she waxed poetic about the first time she tried arugula, and a steamy encounter as she drove home.
I love arugula, and when I woke up at six am on Saturday morning and knew I wasn’t getting back to sleep, I jumped out of bed, donned a baseball hat and headed to the farmers market in Matthews. It was actually the first day of its 20th season!
I always stop at the Newtown Farms booth first because I used to share a share in their CSA program, and I can always count on them for amazing, organic produce. Newtown Farms is owned and operated by the Koenigsburg family, and the way all 8 kids work together out there is a beautiful thing to see! There are usually a few of them helping out on the weekends at the market as well.
Anyhoo…they had some beautiful spinach, arugula and a nice lettuce mix. I had to grab a bag of each. Ooh, kale! Gotta have some of that, too! Then I walked over to another stall and picked up some pea shoots. By the time I noticed the bunches of romaine at another, I stopped in my tracks, a little dizzy, with red lights going off in my head.
“Susan, are you going to even be able to use all the greens you’ve stuffed into the sack already? Should you really be eyeballing yet another bag? You know you’ll be kicking yourself if any of this goes into the trash!”
I think I actually did a little 2-step for a few seconds – taking a step forward, then a step back – totally flustered, before I came to my senses and made a deal with myself.
“YES! I’m going to get all this stuff and the challenge is that I consume it all as quickly as possible! Gonna follow through on that goal to make salads a regular thing in the house. I can do this!” And I bought the romaine…then added some mushrooms, two dozen fresh eggs, and a couple pepper plants for good measure.
Yesterday I had a big salad with a mix of everything, but today I wanted something a little more thoughtful and creative. We roast sweet potatoes all the time around here, and it occurred to me that those would be wonderful mixed with the spicy arugula. Since I almost never make salads at home, I generally use a bottled dressing, but I wanted something a little more special for this, so I did a quick search, and this is the first recipe I came across. (Thanks, Martha Stewart!) It looked perfect, especially since I actually had all the stuff here.
I roasted the sweet potatoes tossed with olive oil, garam masala and a little ground chipotle pepper – it’s a nice blend of sweet and spicy. After mixing the dressing into the arugula, I added some thinly sliced red onions and decided to go with the feta cheese also.
Honestly…this is one of the most tasty dishes I’ve had in some time; the sweet potatoes are the perfect accompaniment to the bold flavor of the arugula, and the feta adds a nice little punch. So simple, so light, so fresh…truly divine.
My only regret is that I didn’t buy more arugula so I could have it again tomorrow.
For the dressing, I used:
2 T olive oil
1 tsp orange zest
3 T orange juice (fresh squeezed, then I ate the orange)
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
a few dashes of black pepper.
And for the salad:
5.5 oz. arugula
1 oz. onions
6.2 oz. sweet potatoes (with about 2 tsp. olive oil)
.6 oz. feta cheese
*This made 2 servings, and the approximate nutritional data for each is: