Time flies when you’re having fun…
…and also when you’re just plain busy. Where have the days gone? There’s been greater demand for my time at work recently, leaving not much motivation to work on a blog post in the evening. I’ve been squeezing in the bike rides and runs, too, so blogging has had to take a back seat during the last couple of weeks.
I promised to publish the last installment of my Taste of South America series a week ago, this time sharing my first–and hopefully not last–visit to Chile. I prepared the feature dish and was so excited to give you the recipe but organizing the travel pictures and outlining the post proved to be more work than I was willing to do after a long day. Truthfully, the desire to write was there but there’s not much you can do when your brain has shut down for the night. I’m still excited to share my Chile experience with you but I have decided to preempt that post with this salad because I don’t like to be absent here for too long.
But just because I offer this as a substitute post doesn’t mean this salad is second-rate; far from it. In fact, as soon as I had my first taste at lunch today I knew that this would have to be published immediately.
I built this salad around some fresh apricots I picked up at the farmers market on the coast recently. My original plan was to bake an apricot tart but I’m not the least bit disappointed that my first apricots of the season turned into this bright, festive salad instead. I planned to caramelize or grill the apricots, too, but in the end I chose to simply slice and serve them as-is.
I composed the salad with ingredients that I thought would complement the apricots: sweet candied pecans, crisp red onions, mildly-salty French Feta cheese, juicy mini heirloom tomatoes, fresh mint and peppery arugula. Each bite was like a party in my mouth thanks to the vinaigrette that brought everything together.
We’ve all had strawberry- or raspberry-flavored salad dressings, right? Why not apricot, I thought? I puréed three apricots with a few mint leaves and a bit of honey (I have tons of mint in my yard so I look for every excuse to use them) then whisked in some white balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
My, oh, my. I couldn’t get enough. The apricots and mint go so very well together and the balsamic vinegar adds just the right kick to make this salad pop.
Trust me…you won’t miss the apricot tart once you taste this salad but thank goodness there’s time enough in the season to enjoy both!
- For the Dressing (makes about 1 cup):
- 3 apricots, peeled and seed removed
- 6 - 7 fresh mint leaves
- 3 teaspoons honey
- 4 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (or champagne or red wine vinegar)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- For the Salad (adjust amounts according to your liking):
- Fresh arugula (about 1 cup per plate)
- Apricots, halved, seeded and sliced (about ½ to 1 apricot per plate)
- Mint leaves (just a few per plate)
- Small heirloom tomatoes, halved (or cherry tomatoes; a few pieces per plate)
- Small cubes of French Feta (or any Feta cheese you like; a few pieces per plate)
- Thinly-sliced red onion
- Candied pecans (homemade or store-bought; I used Trader Joe's)
- To prepare the vinaigrette, purée the apricots and mint leaves in a small food processor with the honey. Transfer to bowl and add the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified and set aside.
- To assemble the salad, arrange the ingredients on serving plates and top with the vinaigrette.