Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spicy Arugula & Cantaloupe Salad with Chili-Lime Pistachios

I have the hardest time remembering how to spell A-R-U-G-A-L-A and C-A-N-T-A-L-O-U-P-E. I've decided that I'm going to start posting what I listened to whilst making a dish. Not because you're particularly interested in what I'm listening to, but because my dear husband put up some new speakers in the kitchen to keep me entertained while cooking (as if cooking weren't entertaining enough!)

What I listened to: Carla Bruni, first lady of France and new momma.

This cool, very unusual recipe is adapted from my dear favorite, Moosewood New Classics. It originally features endive, not arugula, and comes with an embarrassing story. I made this last weekend with a cantaloupe. That I bought a month ago. Here it is:

 I had purchased this at the farmer's market 1 month prior and stored it in my fridge. It still tasted perfect. Makes me wonder how old the melons are in some supermarkets!

The chili-lime pistachios are a holdover from trying to recreate my favorite cheap restaurant snack, the 95-cent chili-lime peanuts from Destihl. I was disappointed with my attempt, and they hung out in my kitchen for a bit, but they made an ideal garnish for this salad.

Spicy Arugula & Cantaloupe Salad with Chili-Lime Pistachios (serves 4)
  • 3 C arugula, loosely packed
  • 1 small cantaloupe, cut into chunks
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tsp cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 3 tsp coriander, ground
  • salt & black pepper to taste
  • chili-lime pistachios (see below)
1. Toss together the arugula, cantaloupe, and cilantro. Set aside. 
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, lemon juice, cayenne, coriander, salt and black pepper. 
3. Pour half the dressing on the salad and toss well. Sprinkle with chili-lime pistachios and serve immediately. 

For chili-lime pistachios (makes 1 C)
  • 1 C raw pistachios
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin, ground
  • oil
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly oil a baking sheet and spread the pistachios as a single layer.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, chili powder & cumin. Smear over the pistachios, until coated.
3. Bake for 7 mins, watching carefully. These burn quickly!

 Kitchen Notes: I was skeptical of the amount of coriander in this recipe, but it works. I recommend only pouring on half the dressing, since a little goes a long way, and the salad is still tasty, dressed, the next day. The arugula does wilt some, but I tolerate wilted arugula far better than most greens. I think the arugula is a better choice than the endive, but this is opinion. This salad would be fantastic if the cantaloupe were replaced with mango, and I cautiously think nectarines or peaches would work great too.

Verdict? This recipe is a bit wacky, but it brings cantaloupe into the category of a salad fruit, much like a strawberry, apple or blueberry. Chili and cantaloupe complement each other well, the sour or the vinegar/citrus, sweetness of the melon, zest of arugula, and spice of the chili, along with the crunch of the salad, works to create a terrific summer salad. I wish I had made this earlier in the season!

1 comment:

  1. This does look like a great salad, always do like fruit and greens. In reading your verdict, I am now craving this. Thanks for sharing this awesome salad!