Tag Archives: salads

Heaven on a Plate Arugula Salad

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My sister Erica just moved to Chicago in early June–the day before Ben was born, to be exact! Since I’m on maternity leave and my days are free and clear, we’ve been hanging out all the time. I zip up to her place–a mere 12 minute drive–and we spend the day corralling our kiddos, talking, and if we feel brave, going out for lunch or heading to a park.

If we don’t feel brave, we stay inside, where the kids all tend to pile on each other.

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Hanging out with Erica is fun, magical, and encouraging. Sometimes we do little projects (like writing this blog post, which I’m doing from Erica’s couch while the kiddos nap). Sometimes we drink iced coffee. Sometimes we do squats.

And eating. Did I mention we do a lot of eating?

We love eating.

In particular, this salad. Erica made it for me one of the first times we all came over. The moment I took the first bite was a revelation. I loved it so much that I immediately put it on the menu at our house for the following week. And the following week. And the week after that (not kidding here). And the ingredients for it are now a staple–they must be in stock constantly. Because it just makes me happy.

Crisp greens with a sprinkling of lemon juice and olive oil. Greasy, perfectly fried tiny potato chunks. Two runny eggs–silky whites and yolks like a thick version of melted butter–all on a plate together. Just 5 ingredients coming together in a salad that makes my heart sing.

Alternate title for this salad: Fried but not guilty.

Because any guilt derived from the divinely fried tiny, greasy potatoes, simply disappears in the context of the bed of salad greens. It’s called psychology.

Make this for lunch. Or for dinner. Or for all the meals.

I highly recommend that you chop up extra potatoes while you’re at it, and save them (raw) in a container in the fridge.

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That way, when you’re in the mood for this salad the next day (which you will be), you can just dump the pre-diced potatoes into a hot, oily pan, and it comes together that much faster.


(Serves 1)

2 eggs
1 TBS Butter
Plate full of arugula (or other salad greens)
Olive oil
Sprinkling of lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
2 medium red potatoes

1. Cut up the red potatoes in a small dice. About this size.

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2. Heat olive oil in a large, nonstick pan. When hot, add the diced potatoes in a single layer and fry on medium heat, salting as you go, until browned and crisp. Stir occasionally. This takes about 12-15 minutes.

3. Toss the arugula with a sprinkling of olive oil, lemon juice and salt, to taste. If you’re feeling virtuous, it’s great without the oil too.

4. In a small, non stick pan, melt the butter. When bubbly, crack in the eggs and turn the heat to medium-low. The whites should immediately create an opaque bottom layer. Using a spatula, gently move the runny whites that are floating on top, making little holes in the bottom layer so that the runny parts come into contact with the hot surface of the pan and cook quickly. After about a minute, salt the eggs and gently turn them over. Give them another minute in the pan, and they’re done!

5. Top the arugula with a layer of potatoes, and gently slide the two eggs on top of it all. Consume with great joy. Fresh OJ on the side doesn’t hurt either.

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I hope you all enjoy this salad as much as I do! It’s a dream.

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Couscous with Tomato and Arugula

These past few weeks, perhaps fueled by the knowledge that my maternity leave is coming to a rapid close, I’ve been cooking up a storm. Who knows if I’ll have the energy to make meals with multiple courses at the end of my workdays-to-come? So if the whim hits to make beer-braised brats and onions with a side of creamed spinach with bacon, the time is now. If my tastebuds cry out for baked mac and cheese with a side of buttery peas and shallots, the time is now. Arm me with a nice glass of red wine around 4pm, a cutting board and a knife, and I’m in dinner-making heaven.

But of course I don’t always come to the dinner hour with a complete notion of what I want to eat. In fact, for me, half the pleasure of menu planning is letting my taste buds be courted by recipes that I peruse and gazing at the food photography in magazines, cookbooks, and of course online.

During my enthusiastic searches for new ideas, I finally delved into a cookbook that had been sitting on my shelf since my friend Annie gave it to me for my baby shower: “The Naptime Chef: fitting great food into family life.” Kelsey’s recipe for couscous promised to pair perfectly with the salmon fillets I was practically drooling to make–and it did. I loved the tang of the vinaigrette, the fresh lemony-ness of it all, the sweetness of the tomatoes and the nutty flavor of the arugula. Plus, not only was this great warm with salmon, but it was also good piping hot the next day after a stint in the microwave, and topped with a perfectly cooked over-easy egg and blue cheese crumbles.

With my humble modifications, I present you one awesome side dish . . . which could easily be a main dish for a casual lunch by yourself on the couch, watching the latest episode of your favorite show. Just sayin’.

It made me almost as happy as Alice after a big meal . . .

 . . . almost.

It’s tough to beat the happiness of a drunk-on-milk baby, what can I say.

Et maintenant! I give you . . . le couscous extraordinaire.


(Serves 4-6)

10 oz uncooked plain couscous
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 pint golden sunburst tomatoes, halved
2 ½ oz baby arugula

1. Cook the couscous according to the package directions.

2. Fluff the couscous well with a fork.

3. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, vinegar, salt and pepper to form the dressing.

4. Stir the dressing, tomatoes and arugula into the couscous, tossing until everything is evenly mixed together. Taste and re-season if needed.

5. Serve warm, hot or cold!

And eat it with our without salmon . . . though “with” is highly recommended.

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