I’m trying to cope with the fact that it’s no longer the weekend. We got back last night from an amazing weekend trip to Santa Barbara with friends and I am definitely not ready to be awake or working at the present time. (Pillow in my office, can haz?)
For anyone who has never been to Santa Barbara, it’s a charming coastal town that’s a mid-point between San Diego and San Francisco. It’s home to University of California Santa Barbara as well as The Old Mission Santa Barbara and Julia Child’s favorite Taco Shop. The city itself is gorgeous; the architecture is almost universally a Spanish Colonial style and you can find open air markets, malls, and tons of al fresco dining.
It’s the perfect town to beach during the day and wander the streets in the evening and experience the wonderful local cuisine. Not to mention it is 30 minutes from wine country. And if you don’t want to drive out into the orchards you can easily find wine tasting rooms for many of the local wineries right in the city.
Santa Barbara is really a food and drink lover’s dream. (Hence why I love it). And I certainly over-indulged in both categories. (Because that’s what weekends with good friends are for, right?)
So this Monday let’s distract ourselves with some salad porn which might be just enough to wake me up and make my Monday a little less Monday-ish. The salad that I’m featuring today is a self-invented salad that is an amalgamation of all my favorite things. The base of the salad is arugula, although you certainly could substitute this for any greens of your choice.
The dressing I made from whizzing together a shallot, some red wine vinegar, olive oil, and just a touch of dijon in the blender. Shallot is my “secret” ingredient for salad dressings that take vinaigrettes from average to wow. You can easily substitute the red wine vinegar for balsamic if you prefer a little sweeter flavor for your vinaigrette. But I found that the sharp tartness of the viniagrette was the perfect complement to the sweet chopped dried apricots and the grilled red plums. Grilling the plums almost gave them a wine-y sweetness and pulled out the natural sugars. You don’t need to grill them for long. I just popped them on a hot cast iron grill pan for a minute or two until they developed a lovely sear.Then toss everything together with a few toasted almonds and a handful of feta.Hope you have a lovely week everyone! I’m signing out to go bury my face in my cup of coffee (or 5).
Arugula Salad with Grilled Red Plums
- 5 oz arugula
- 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- 1/2 cup diced dried apricots
- 3 ripe red plums pitted and sliced into 1/6ths
_For the Vinaigrette_
- 1 shallot peeled, and roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a blender combine all ingredients for the vinaigrette. Process until shallot is completely pureed. Pour into a mason jar to save for later.
- Preheat a cast iron grill pan to high heat.
- Place plum pieces on the grill pan in a diagonal pattern and sear for 1-2 minutes, or until black grill marks are evident. Flip and repeat on the opposite side. (Note- I had to do this in 2 batches for all the plums).
- Set plums aside.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the arugula and about half of the dressing. Toss to coat. Sample the greens and add more dressing, to taste.
- Plate onto 4 separate salad places. Evenly distribute the almonds, feta, and dried apricots between the salads.
- Arrange 5 plum pieces around each plate in a star pattern.
- Serve immediately.