In the summer, I have no problem eating salads. But when it’s cold outside, they are the last things I would want to eat. It’s much harder to eat healthy in the dead of winter. I crave all hot things; a sizzling lasagna, a piping hot bowl of soup, a steaming cup of hot chocolate. The other day, I had nothing warm to enjoy…just a bag of arugula. I was in the mood for a restaurant quality meal, but not just a simple salad. That’s when I came up with the Crunchy (and warm) Salad.It’s not everyday where you see a warm salad, and when you do, it’s not the lettuce that is warm but rather the condiments, such as quinoa, rice, and eggs. For this salad, heat radiates from the lettuce, the croutons, and the egg. The crunch comes from the crispy salad and the crunchy croutons. By slightly baking the arugula, the flavors become more pungent, giving the arugula a whole new reputation. Not only does this salad give the arugula a new reputation, it will give you a new reputation in the kitchen. This salad easily knocks all the other salads out of the way for the prize of the best salad. Watch out, Sweetgreen! There’s a new salad in town.
The Crunchy Salad
- 2-3 cups arugula, washed
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 slices of country bread, toasted, cubed into 1 inch squares
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 3 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 egg, poached
- salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a baking sheet, evenly disperse the arugula. Bake the arugula for 10 minutes, until wilted but still tender.
While the arugula is baking, heat the 2 olive oil in a small sauté pan. Over medium low heat, add the garlic. Once flagrant, after 1-2 minutes, add the bread cubes. Using a wooden spoon, toss the bread cubes in the oil and garlic. After 3 minutes, when crunchy and garlic-y, remove from heat and set aside.
In a small bowl or glass, mix together the balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, and the rest of the olive oil (3 tablespoons).
To assemble, toss together the arugula, bread crumbs, and balsamic vinaigrette. Top with a poached egg and season with salt and pepper.
The salad is best when served while the arugula is warm.