Jamie Oliver’s Arugula and Radicchio Salad

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If you’re wondering who posts a salad recipe the week before Christmas, when the food blogosphere is nothing but cookies and cinnamon rolls and chocolate covered marshmallows, well, that’s a really good question. I actually did quite a bit of holiday baking over the past week, but I did it all in such a hurry that I forgot to take pictures.  I made these cookies and these biscotti and this hot chocolate mix (although not the marshmallows) – and I would encourage everyone to try all of them, as they are all amazing (especially the biscotti!).  I know that a lot of us, however, have cookie exchange cookies and secret santa treats and eggnog from the work elevator coming out of our ears, and perhaps a tropical vacation on the horizon, so I thought it might be a good time to take a little break and eat some greens.  And yes, in case you were wondering, the eggnog elevator is an actual thing (thanks to my friend Kristy for reminding me about one of the [few] perks of my old job this morning).

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My friend Ellie made this salad for a book club dinner a few years ago, and I’ve been copying her ever since – especially during Christmastime, when the red and green colors are perfect for holiday meals. Jamie’s recipe is pretty loose – a “handful” of arugula, a “glug” of olive oil. I love not having to measure, especially in a salad when you should be tailoring it to your liking. [Sidenote: Jamie refers to arugula as “rocket,” which is what they call it in the UK (if you’re interested, here’s why we have different words for the same thing). “Rocket” makes me think of the quarter I spent studying abroad in London, where we ate a lot of rocket pizza – yum. But I digress.] Anyways, this salad literally could not be easier – especially if you buy the pre-washed arugula like I did. Dump your arugula into your salad bowl, add some thinly sliced radicchio (very thinly sliced, as it can be bitter), parmesan, nuts, oil and vinegar, salt and pepper. The pine nuts are optional, but I would strongly recommend them (personal preference). Jamie also suggests red onion and/or bacon as additions. Toss everything together and you have a salad that’s sure to impress all of your holiday dinner guests – or will be the perfect weeknight dinner salad for days when you ate christmas cookies for breakfast and lunch.

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Jamie Oliver, previously: Eggplant Parmesan

One Year Ago: Rum Cake!

Arugula and Radicchio Salad, from Jamie Oliver

Serves 4

One package (or four large handfuls) arugula
One small radicchio, thinly sliced
Grated parmesan cheese
Toasted pine nuts
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Toss the arugula and radicchio in a large salad bowl with parmesan and pine nuts. Drizzle olive oil and vinegar to taste (Jamie does a 3:1 oil:vinegar ratio, which is the correct way to make a vinaigrette; I do more like a 1:1 as I like my dressing light and less oily). Sprinkle a small amount of salt and pepper, also to taste. Toss well. Serve the salad topped with additional parmesan and pine nuts.

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Jamie Oliver’s Eggplant Parmesan

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I really wanted to post this a couple weeks ago, in case anyone was looking for meatless recipes during Lent, but I’m just now getting around to it. So just in time for a Meatless Monday instead! My friend Tracy introduced me to this recipe a few years ago – I fell in love with it then, and each time I’ve made it since I fall in love with it all over again. I have a couple of Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks, and I love his stuff because it’s usually pretty easy and relatively healthy.  This recipe is no exception.

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His eggplant parm is lighter than most because his eggplant is grilled (or roasted) rather than breaded and fried like the traditional recipe. Each time I make it I’m reminded of how eggplant immediately soaks up olive oil, so you really need to brush it on rather than drizzle it (as evidenced above). Jamie has you grill the eggplant slices either on the stove top or barbecue (his recipe can be found here), but Tracy sent me a variation on the recipe (found here – love the Wednesday Chef!) and she just brushes them with olive oil and roasts them in the oven, which seems easier to me.

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Everything else comes together pretty quickly, and the sauce is the best part – every time I make this dish I start thinking I should be making this sauce by itself, any time I need a marinara (which I suppose is basically never, but if I did). The San Marzano tomatoes really make a difference, which I say only for the benefit of people who don’t already know that (as I realize many of you already do).

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I put it on top of whole wheat, Omega-3 fortified pasta (which tastes amazingly just like normal noodles), but I had the leftovers plain and it was still delicious – the eggplant is substantial enough you don’t really need the pasta. I will tell you that between prepping and roasting the eggplant, making the sauce, and then baking the casserole, the dish doesn’t come together quickly – but that shouldn’t deter you from making it. If you’re looking for a quick weeknight meal, I would suggest perhaps making the sauce and/or roasting the eggplant the night before, and then putting it together and baking it the following evening. Otherwise, if you get home as late as I do, dinner won’t be ready until bedtime. But although it is time-consuming, it’s really not hard. If you try it, let me know what you think. And if you have any other “Meatless Monday” recipes to share, or Jamie favorites, I’d love to hear them in the comments. Happy Monday, everyone! And Buon Appetito!

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