foodie fridays: arugula and watermelon salad

{Guest post today! Enjoy!}

Whew! (wipe brow)

Wherever you are, it is probably hot as a late-afternoon concrete driveway. When I was eight years old, I actually broke open an egg onto a July driveway to see if it would cook. It sorta’ did…in a slow and rather stinky way.

In Kansas City, it has not only been hot and dry, but noisy and dusty.

Since June 1 this summer, workers across the street from our house have been excavating a once-green and lush soccer field and preparing to install, in it’s place, an AAU 8-lane track with astro turf. Sigh.

Beep-beep, rr-r-o-o-m, rr-r-o-o-m every morning at 7:15 AM the bulldozers start. Lord have mercy on the poor construction workers in the 103 degree heat.

We needed a refreshing break and the bounty of summer watermelons spoke to me like a gospel passage: “Make the salad.”

So I cut up a watermelon into some crisp, juicy slices and pulled out my favorite summer salad recipe:

Watermelon and Arugula Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette.

This salad hails from Chef John McReynolds at the La Haye Restaurant in Sonoma, California. Sonoma? You know it’s gotta’ be good. This mustardy tang of the arugula blends wonderfully with the sweet, crunch watermelon.

But in order for this salad to be top notch, you cannot forget the most important step, the onions.

Put sliced onion in a small bowl and lightly salt the pieces. Allow the onion to sit and wilt for 30 minutes. (Don’t skip this step – it’s crucial). Refresh the onion two times in cold water with a couple of ice cubes for a couple of minutes. Drain to remove water and excess salt.

For dinner, I added some grilled salmon on top. Yum! Refreshing and healthy with tons of interesting flavor contrasts.

I don’t recommend driveway scrambled eggs:)

Cheers!

Geri Wurth

Watermelon and Arugula Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette (adapted from La Haye Restaurant)

Serves 6

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
for the salad:
1 and 1/2 pound ripe watermelon cut up into 3/4 inch cubes
1 red onion cut in half and very thinly sliced
1/2 pound arugula leaves
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Salt and pepper
for the citrus vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 small shallots, finely minced
Zest of one orange
Zest of one lemon
1/2 cup canola oil or salad oil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
for the salad:
Put sliced onion in a small bowl and lightly salt the pieces. Allow the onion to sit and wilt for 30 minutes. (Don’t skip this step – it’s crucial).  Refresh the onion two times in cold water with a couple of ice cubes for a few minutes. Drain to remove water and excess salt. Place watermelon cubes, arugula, red onion, and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl and toss. Toss again with vinaigrette. Mound salad on each plate and top with crumbled feta.
for the citrus vinaigrette:
Zest the lemon into a bowl. Next, zest the orange into a bowl. Then juice the lemon and orange into the bowl. Add the other ingredients and slowly whisk in the oils.