The weather has finally decided to act it’s season and we’ve had a couple of stellar 78 degree days. I started early today by first harvesting half of my lettuces, arugula, tomatoes and cippolini onions. It was going to be warmer than usual and I wanted to get to the tender lettuces before the afternoon heat wilted them.The first time I ate some of my arugula I found it warm, nutty and quite peppery. And the first thing that came to my mind was pesto! I combined about a cup of cleaned chopped arugula with 1/3C pinenut, 1/3C parm, the zest of a lemon and tons of spanish olive oil into my food processor and let er rip. After at bit of taste testing, salt and a leaf or two of basil,…deliciousness delivered!
garden greens with green zebra’s and arugula pesto vinaigrette.
I planted a couple of different lettuces, one known only as “mixed” and also baby romaine. I’ve found the more wild and softer lettuces more difficult to cultivate, they are more sensitive to pests and weather and I’ve ended up tossing an entire crop due to slugs. We’re a household that likes or greens crispy and able to stand up to dressing, even if it be olive oil. Today, I clipped a couple of leaves of everything.
Other than the pesto, this salad took about 8 minutes to put together and the dressing was the most surprising simple concoction to be made. After washing the lettuces, I diced only my green zebra tomatoes and combined them with olive oil, sea salt, pepper and a dash (and I mean a capfull) of white balsamic. After about two minutes I drained the liquid off of the tomatoes and set it aside, definitely do not throw this out, it’s the base of your vinaigrette. Some fresh mozzarella was then thrown in with the tomators and tossed with a fresh drizzle of olive oil.
Back to the drained off tomato liquid. To this add a tablespoon of the fresh pesto and olive oil to taste. It maybe a bit salty to start, but emulsified with additional olive oil makes this the most perfect tomato-pesto vinaigrette.
With the dressing complete, it was generously drizzled over the greens which were then plated with the marinated tomato/ fresh mozzarella mixture. For color and additional dimension I took some homemade oven dried tomatoes I had left over from breakfast and roughly chopped them over the salad. Voila! Early supper salad served.