A couple of weeks ago I wrote about arugula in Walnut Vinaigrette Over Wilted Arugula, a tasty salad that requires sautéing. Now I would like to tell you about a great salad recipe adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Jacques Pepin’s Table called Arugula and Olive Salad that is served with a simple lemon dressing.
Remember, arugula is aromatic salad green but has a bitter, peppery taste. You either love it or hate it. A good way to develop a taste for it is to add a little to your favorite salad greens like red leaf lettuce.
This recipe calls for making homemade croutons that are easy to prepare and a lot tastier than any of the commercial brands out there without all the extra stuff they put in them. Saying that, not everyone has the time or desire to make croutons from scratch so skip this step and use your favorite flavor store bought brand.
If you do decide to make your own, why not make a bunch for another meal? Stored in an airtight container they will last up to a week, but you can freeze them for up to 6 months. I’m always looking for ways to make future meals just that much easier.
For the Salad
1 or 2 bunches of arugula - about 14 ounces
20 oil-cured black olives
2 slices bread
1 ½ teaspoons virgin olive oil - for the croutons
For the Lemon Dressing
1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
How To Prepare At Home
Preheat your oven to 400°F. This is for making the croutons.If you didn't purchase the triple washed 14-ounce package of arugula, it's bath time. Wash the arugula (I prefer using my salad spinner) and remove any tough out leaves and the stems. Spin the leaves dry or use a kitchen towel. Pit the olives unless you purchased pitted oil-cured black olives and cut them up into ½ inch pieces yielding about ½ a cup.
Trim the crust from the bread and cut it into ½ cubes.
Making the Croutons
Put the bread cubes into a bowl, and then add 1-½ teaspoons of olive oil. Mix this up with your hands GENTLY so not to end up with a bunch of breadcrumbs. Place the oiled cubes on a baking tray and bake for 8-10 minutes until they are nicely browned. Remove and reserve for the salad.
Preparing the Dressing
In the bowl you plan to serve the salad, add the lemon juice, olive oil and salt & pepper. Whisk them all together.
Serving the Salad
When you are ready to serve, add the arugula to the bowl with the lemon dressing and toss. You can add the croutons and olives to this bowl or plate the greens on separate salad plates and top with croutons and olives. Your choice.
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