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Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and Lemon Vinaigrette

Posted Jun 15 2010 3:00am


This salad is the stuff of legends. I'm not sure if salads are typically awarded legendary status, but this salad definitely deserves to join the ranks of Rocky, the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team, and The Rolling Stones.

I've rhapsodized about our favorite pub, Brick Store, many a time on the blog, and while an astounding collection of international beers is surely a reason alone to patronize Brick Store regularly, Zach's very favorite reason for visiting Brick Store is their arugula salad (my personal favorite reason is St. Bernardus Abt 12 on tap, but I digress). A flawless blend of mellow-tart goat cheese, sweet pecans, and tangy cranberries paired with crisp, peppery arugula, this simple first-course salad manages to outshine an entire, lovely menu of luxurious main courses. Every time we order the salad, we reminisce about it for weeks to come, to the bewildered amusement of our friends.

While I had intended to fix a version of the salad at home for quite some time now, I confess I was a little intimidated by the extent to which the salad had grown in our esteem - what if I fell short? What if I couldn't find the perfect nuances for the deceptively simple lemon vinaigrette? At last, on Sunday afternoon as we browsed in Trader Joe's, Zach picked up a package of arugula and decided to make the salad that very night. All we hoped for was a recreation nearly as desirable as the original, so you can imagine our shock and delight when we slowly realized we liked our version even better!

(Zach assembling our salads... :-)



So, if you haven't yet seen footage of the 1980 US Olympic hockey team, please do visit YouTube immediately... and then make this salad.

On further reflection, though, I feel I misspoke. Without a doubt, make the salad first.



Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and Lemon Vinaigrette

1/2 cup olive oil
Juice from 1 lemon
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp dried mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Baby arugula leaves
Spiced pecans (we used the ones from Trader Joe's, since we happened to be at Trader Joe's, but you can also make homemade ones, too, of course...)
Dried cranberries
Goat cheese, sliced into small pieces

~ To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, basil, sugar, mustard, and garlic powder. This will make quite a bit of dressing, probably more than you'll need for one round of salads, but it's such a useful dressing to have on hand anyway...
~ Assemble the salads individually for each person present. Fill a salad bowl with arugula leaves, top with spiced pecans, dried cranberries, and bits of goat cheese, and drizzle with the vinaigrette!


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