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Grilled Potato and Arugula Salad with Fresh Herbs

There is nothing better than a backyard cookout when the weather finally warms up. This spring has been a bit brutal and chilly so now that we have finally been blessed with some warmer temps and lovely sunshine, I see a lot of grilling out in our near future.

We had to work on Memorial day, but we took a break in the late afternoon so I could finally plant some veggies and herbs in my gardens and Mark could mow the lawn. It was insanely hot on Monday so after working hard outside we decided it would be the perfect day for this summer’s inaugural grilling session. We desperately need to get to the grocery store and farmers market after all of this traveling so I decided to make do with what we had on hand. We pulled out two delicious smoked pork chops, from Sojourner Farm, out of our freezer and I realized I could whip together a quick potato salad. I had a beautiful bunch of arugula that I grabbed from the Farmers Market in Brooklyn last weekend so decided to improvise and create this salad. I make so many variations of this grilled potato salad throughout the summer since it is so easy to toss together and it’s so full of wonderful flavors. You can play around with different herbs, substitute baby spinach or other lettuces for the arugula and even play with different vinaigrettes, like mustard based, etc.

This salad has so many great fresh, summer flavors from the herbs and arugula and the potatoes get a beautiful brown crispiness. I promise after the first time you make a grilled potato salad, you will see all the possibilities and be hooked on it throughout the summer, as we are. Additionally, it is a  naturally gluten-free and vegan side dish.

Grilled Potato and Arugula Salad with Fresh Herbs

Grilled Potato and Arugula Salad with Fresh Herbs
serves 4

4-5 medium organic russet potatoes (approx 1 – 1.5 lbs), skin left on, cleaned and sliced 1/4″ thick on the short side
1 bunch of fresh arugula, roughly chopped
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 large bunch of fresh chives, chopped thinly
1 bunch of fresh oregano, roughly chopped (any other fresh herb you prefer can be used here)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to taste

Using a mandoline slicer, evenly slice the potatoes into 1/4″ slices. If you do not have a mandoline slicer, you can cut them by hand, just be sure they are all similar thickness so they cook evenly. Place the potato slices in a medium saucepan and cover with water, add a dash of salt. Bring them to a boil over a high heat, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer potatoes until just fork tender, about 5-8 minutes. Drain the potatoes and rinse in cold water to stop them from cooking. Once cooled and drained, gently toss with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (you need just enough to coat all the potatoes, but you don’t want too much or it’ll cause a flare up on the grill), and a dash each of salt and pepper, so they are all evenly coated. You can also add a small amount of the fresh herbs in at this time, if you want to get some extra flavor.

Preheat the grill to medium-high. Add the potatoes to a nonstick grill pan, basket or wok (I have one like this, that I love), and place on the grill over the flames. Since the potatoes will not be in a single layer, you will want to toss them gently and often so some don’t burn while others don’t get browned. It will take approximately 20 minutes to cook all of the potatoes thoroughly and for them to be nicely browned. If any get caught in a hot spot and cook too quickly or begin to burn a bit, I just remove them early. If you don’t want to mess with a grill basket or pan, you can cut the potatoes the long way and cook them directly on your grill in a single layer, this takes only about 5 minutes per side. (Our grill’s grates are a bit too wide and we lose too many this way, so to avoid frustration we go with the pan).

While the potatoes are cooking, in a small bowl add the rice wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs, salt and pepper, mix well to combine.

Once the potatoes are cooked, place them in a large serving bowl, add the arugula and dressing, gently toss to combine everything. The arugula will begin to wilt a bit with the heat from the potatoes but will keep that nice crunch. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

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Zucchini Pie

Speaking of an abundance of zucchini, I came across this recipe on the Whole Living website last week and thought it sounded like a delicious and different way to use the zucchini I had so much of. I changed a couple of things around, like using fresh oregano instead of dill and parsley, since my oregano is growing out of control and it seemed like a perfect match with the other lovely mediterranean flavors. I also had a ton of cherry tomatoes from our garden, so I quartered a handful of those instead of using a whole tomato like the original recipe called for. If yellow zucchini is unavailable, you can use just green zucchini.

This simple crustless pie had so much flavor and was perfectly filling. I made it for dinner last night and since there was so much leftover, I had a slice of it for breakfast.

Zucchini Pie
Serves 6
adapted from Whole Living

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound (about 2 or 3) green zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 scallions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 pound (about 2 or 3) yellow zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup freshly chopped oregano
5 large eggs plus 5 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add green zucchini, half the scallions, half the garlic, A teaspoon marjoram, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until zucchini has softened and is beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; transfer to a large bowl; set aside.

Rinse skillet; repeat process with yellow zucchini and remaining teaspoon olive oil, scallions, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon marjoram, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Transfer to bowl with cooked green zucchini; let sit until cooled. Drain and discard any liquid.

Add oregano, and eggs to zucchini; stir to combine. Pour into a 9 1/2-inch round, deep baking dish. Sprinkle with tomatoes and feta. Bake until set, about 1 hour. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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