Heirloom Tomato & Watermelon Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette

August 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 4


8-12 heirloom tomatoes, various varieties
8-12 pieces seedless watermelon sliced ½ inch thick and in wedges
2 cups feta cheese, sliced in sticks or wedges
12 fresh basil leaves, chifonade
White balsamic vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Baby arugula (garnish)


On individual serving plates create a stacked salad using the heirloom tomatoes, watermelon and feta. Sprinkle basil chifonade all over and drizzle the white balsamic vinaigrette over the top Garnish with baby arugula.

White Balsamic Vinaigrette
Makes 2 cups dressing


¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup blended oil (canola based)
½ shallot, minced
Salt and pepper to taste (about ½ teaspoon of each)


In a medium bowl whisk together ingredients until well incorporated and emulsified, season with salt and pepper to taste.

*Recipes property of Polo Dobkins

Cavatelli with Seared Squid, Oven-Roasted Tomatoes, Baby Arugula and Black Olives

July 4th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink


4-6 servings


For the Cavatelli

1 pound all-purpose flour, or Italian OO flour
1 pound whole-milk ricotta, drained/hung in cheesecloth overnight
4 ounces semolina
3 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
Water, just enough to make a firm dough

For the Sauce

10½ ounces baby arugula, long stem ends removed
8 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded
Zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange, peeled into strips (no pith)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 spring fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3½ ounces black olives, pitted and sliced

For the Calamari

1 pound calamari, fresh or frozen, tubes and tentacles cleaned and separated
2 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
Pinch pepperoncino
Zest of 1 lemon, freshly grated
1 tablespoon Italian flat leaf parsley, freshly chopped


For the cavatelli

Combine the flours in a large bowl. Add ricotta and the parmesan and mix by hand to combine.
Add the water a little at a time, just enough to form a stiff dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work table and knead by hand until smooth and elastic. Be careful not to add too much water, but the dough should not be tacky or sticky.Wrap the dough in plastic wrap for up to a few hours.

To shape the cavatelli: cut the dough into pieces, and then roll one piece into a rope about ½ inch in diameter. Keep the remaining pieces covered in plastic wrap until needed. Using a small knife or a bowl/bench scraper, cut the dough rope into pieces about ½ inch long.

Press the pieces with your index finger against the blade of a butter knife with a rounded tip, flattering each piece of dough until fairly thin. Pull the knife toward you, dragging the dough across the work surface so that it curls itself around the tip of the knife to form a shell shape. Place on a floured sheet tray until ready to use.

For the calamari

Cut the calamari into tubes about ½ inch thick.

In a medium sauté pan over a low flame, heat a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with the sliced garlic. Add a pinch of pepperoncino. When the garlic has softened and given off all of its aroma, turn off the heat and set aside.

Heat a large cast iron skillet or grill pan over high heat. Sear the calamari tubes and tentacles in just a little oil nicely colored on both sides. Remove to the smaller pan with the garlic. Toss with the freshly grated lemon zest and parsley. Adjust seasoning.

For the Sauce

Cut the peeled and seeded tomatoes into petals. Toss them in a bowl with salt and pepper, crushed garlic, strips of lemon and orange zest and fresh thyme sprigs. Lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast them in a 325°F oven until they are soft, shrunken and slightly golden.
Clean the arugula well.

Boil the cavatelli in abundant salted water until just al dente.

In a large sauté pan over medium low flame, heat a few tablespoons of the olive oil with the roasted tomatoes and olives. Strain the pasta and toss into the sauce, adding the arugula and toss together until it is just wilted. Add a few drops of pasta water and olive oil to the pan to achieve a creamy consistency. Adjust the seasoning. Spoon into warm bowls and top with the seared calamari dividing the rings and tentacles evenly among the bowls.

Spring Vegetable Salad

May 17th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 4


2 pounds beets
1 fresh bay leaf
4 spears asparagus, cut into 1-inch spears
1 orange, segmented, juices reserved
1 small red onion, half moons
1 pound thick-cut bacon, cut into ¼ inch lardon (optional)
8 ounces baby arugula
½ teaspoon spring garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 sprigs thyme


In a stock pot, place beets, bay leaf and one sprig thyme. Cover with water by at least 1 inch. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender and the beets can slide easily off a knife. Once finished, cool just enough to touch and peel skins off. Cut into ½ inch cubes.

Fill a sauté pan with water, about halfway, bring water up to a simmer, season with a pinch of salt and add the asparagus. Blanch for about one minute, until tender, but with a little “snap” left in the center. Remove asparagus and place into an ice bath (shock).

To make the vinaigrette, take a small bowl, add garlic, reserved orange juice, extra virgin olive oil and 1 sprig of thyme (leaves only). Season to taste and whisk together.

In a medium salad bowl, toss together beets, onions, and asparagus with some of the vinaigrette. Add in baby arugula and the orange segments. Toss together gently, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

If using bacon, you can do this step instead of blanching. Bring a sauté pan up to a medium heat and add the bacon. Render bacon until crispy. Remove bacon and reserve. Using only some of the bacon fat left in the pan, add the asparagus and roast until tender.

Recipe Property of Brendan McDermott

Spicy Pumpkin and Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese (Brown Lentils)

January 2nd, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

Serves 6


1 cup brown lentils
3 cups (about one 2-pound whole pumpkin) sugar pumpkin or butternut squash
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika
½ teaspoon sea salt
4 cups baby arugula
1 cup soft goat cheese, crumbled
¼ cup mint leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar


Place lentils in small bowl. Cover with cold water and soak 10 minutes; drain.
Cook lentils in boiling salted water until tender but firm, about 30 minutes. Drain lentils. Rinse under cold water, then drain.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place pumpkin in large bowl; toss with 2 tablespoons oil, cumin, paprika, and sea salt. Arrange pumpkin in single layer on baking sheet; roast 20 minutes. Turn pumpkin over. Roast until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool.
Combine lentils, pumpkin, and oil from baking sheet with arugula, half of goat cheese, mint, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with remainder of crumbled goat cheese on individual servings.

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