A Tasty Salad Made With Bitter Greens
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about arugula in Walnut Vinaigrette Over Wilted Arugula, a tasty salad that requires sautéing. I want to tell you about a great salad recipe adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Jacques Pepin's Table, called Arugula and Olive Salad, 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. An excellent way to develop a taste for it is to add a little to your favorite salad greens, like red leaf lettuce.
If you want to learn "everything you need to know about arugula," check out my post.
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 and 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 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.
Arugula and Olive Salad
For the Salad
- 1 bunch arugula about 14 ounces
- 20 oil-cured black olives
- 2 slices bread
- 1½ teaspoons virgin olive oil for the croutons
For the Lemon Dressing
- 1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil virgin
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Prep the Ingredients
- 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 leaves and stems. Spin the leaves dry or use a kitchen towel.
- Pit the olives unless you purchased pitted oil-cured black olives and cut them 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 1½ teaspoons of olive oil. Mix this up with your hands GENTLY so as not to end up with many 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.