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Arugula and Goat Cheese
by Charlie Burke

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Certain flavor combinations such as tomatoes and basil, strawberries and
rhubarb, and tarragon and lobster go so well that their sum is greater than the
parts. Arugula and goat cheese is such a blend, and you can add toasted
walnuts to this mix.

One day at the Sanbornton Farmers’ Market we had a run on our arugula and
soon sold out. Valerie Davies of Heart Song Farm in Gilmanton, New
Hampshire had been sampling some of her fabulous goat cheese, serving it on
pizza with arugula. Folks were buying her cheese and running to us to get
arugula!

We have already picked our first crop of arugula and several other plantings
are on the way. Spring goat milk production is now at its peak, so now is a
good time to suggest a couple recipes combining these assertive flavors. One is
an easy appetizer, and the other a salad one could find in a Paris bistro. Buy
fresh, locally produced goat cheese; you will get great cheese while supporting
your local farmers.

Goat Cheese toasts with Arugula and Chives*:

20 thin slices French baguette
¾ cup chopped chives
¾ pound goat cheese
1 ½ tablespoon olive oil
2 cups whole arugula leaves
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange bread slices on a baking sheet and toast
until golden. Let toast cool for several minutes. Mix olive oil into goat cheese,
sprinkle each toast with chives and spread each with one heaping teaspoon of
the cheese mixture. Top toasts with remaining chives and a grind of pepper
and return to oven for 2-3 minutes or until cheese begins to melt. Place toasts
on a platter, top each with 3 arugula leaves and serve immediately.

Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and Walnuts:

8 cups young arugula (for 4 servings)
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
6 ounces fresh goat cheese in ¼ - ½ inch pieces
Kosher or sea salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice or white wine vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Prepare dressing. Place chopped shallot in a small bowl, add mustard and
lemon juice or vinegar. Add a generous pinch of salt and a few grinds of
pepper. Mix and then add olive oil, whisking until emulsified. Taste to adjust
salt and pepper; you may want to add a small amount of oil or acid to balance
the dressing.

Heat a dry frying pan over medium heat and toast walnuts a few minutes until
beginning to brown. Place arugula into a salad bowl, add dressing and toss.
Check seasoning again, adding more salt, pepper, oil or vinegar as needed.
Add walnuts and goat cheese, toss gently and serve.

*From
Sharing Our Bounty published by the Sanbornton Farmers’ Market
(second edition available this summer)

About the author: An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the vice
president of the New Hampshire Farmer’s Market Association (
www.nhfma.org) and
helps run the Sanbornton Farmers' Market. Along with his wife, Joanne, he grows
certified organic herbs, greens and berries at Weather Hill Farm in Sanbornton, NH.
Arugula grows in Charlie's gardens at Weather HIll Farm in Sanbornton, NH
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