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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Arugula Salad with Grilled Zucchini and Nectarines


This was the perfect late lunch on a lazy Saturday afternoon.
It has a little bit of everything: spicy arugula, savory grilled zucchini, sweet and juicy nectarine, tangy goat cheese and creamy walnuts. Tossed together with an orange champagne vinaigrette, it was light but satisfying.

I used goat cheese brie in the shape of a log because it's easy to slice. You could also use a creamy goat cheese and crumble it, or even blue cheese. If your nectarine isn't fully ripe, skip it or grill
it along with the zucchini.

2 small or 1 medium zucchini
Extra virgin olive oil, first cold pressing
Sea salt
1/4 cup orange champagne vinegar, or other vinegar
1 or 2 cloves garlic, grated or ground into a paste
2 tbsp Dijon mustard or 1 tbsp ground mustard seed
Ground peppercorn
6 cups fresh arugula
 1/2 cup raw walnuts
1 ripe nectarine, thinly sliced
2 oz goat cheese, sliced or crumbled

Trim the ends of the zucchini and cut them into slices. Warm a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet or grill pan. Add the zucchini in a single layer and sprinkle sea salt on top. Cook until browned, then flip the rounds over and brown the second side. Remove the zucchini from the hot surface and set them aside to cool.

In a clean glass jar with a lid, add the vinegar, garlic, mustard,
1/2 cup olive oil, a pinch of peppercorn and a pinch of sea salt if desired. Close it tightly and shake until well-combined. (Or whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl.) Taste the vinaigrette for seasoning and adjust it if necessary.

Add the arugula to a large mixing bowl. Roughly chop the warm zucchini and scatter it over the arugula. Add the walnuts, nectarine and goat cheese. Drizzle some vinaigrette over the top, enough to dress all of the ingredients but not so much that it weighs them down. Toss everything together and serve the salad immediately.

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