Summer Nectarine and Arugula Salad with Lemon-White Balsamic Vinaigrette

arugula, fennel, and nectarine salad on fancy white plate

It is mid-August and the weather is hot in Austin, Texas! We make a salad at least once a day to help us stay cool. We are in love with this new salad– Summer Nectarine and Arugula Salad with Lemon-White Balsamic Vinaigrette!

In addition to arugula greens, this salad has fresh basil and mint. The herbs on my back porch are doing great, thanks to daily watering and a burlap shade structure (from Costco) my husband hung over part of the deck. It’s just enough to block some of the harshest sun in the afternoon.

 

Summer Nectarine and Arugula Salad with Lemon-White Balsamic Dressing was born the other night when we were having a friend over for dinner and needed something to go with baked white fish and butternut squash risotto. We had some baby arugula, baby tomatoes (the most delicious tiny ones we got at Whole Foods this week), a little fresh fennel, fresh basil and mint, and a lemon in the fridge.

As I put the salad ingredients together, I saw a nectarine ripening on the counter, and wondered if it would go along with the other ingredients. I’m glad I tried it, as it was the perfect complement to the basil and mint, and the sweetness of the nectarine balanced out the bitterness of the arugula.

The third time I made this salad I added some organic feta cheese which made it look extra beautiful. If you’d prefer, you could put some toasted sliced almonds, pistachios, pecans, or homemade croutons on top of the salad instead of the cheese.

fennel and nectarine salad on fancy white plate

For the dressing, I used a white balsamic vinegar to go along with some lemon juice and olive oil to make a simple vinaigrette. But feel free to use any high quality balsamic vinegar and olive oil combination you like. I think a dark balsamic would work well here, as would a flavored white balsamic vinegar like lemongrass-mint or peach.

Summer Nectarine and Arugula Salad with Lemon-White Balsamic Vinaigrette
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Summer Salad
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
Salad
  • 5 ounces baby arugula (about 5-6 handfuls)
  • 1 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn or sliced
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves, sliced
  • zest of 1 or 2 lemons (yellow part only)
  • 2 nectarines, pitted and sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup baby tomatoes, halved
Dressing
  • juice of 2 lemons (~6 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Instructions
Salad
  1. In a large prep bowl, toss together arugula, fennel, basil, mint, and lemon zest.
  2. Using tongs, lightly dress salad with some of the lemon-white balsamic vinaigrette (below).
  3. Place salad onto individual salad plates or one large salad bowl or platter.
  4. Decorate the salad with nectarines and tomatoes. Drizzle with a little extra dressing, if desired.
Dressing
  1. Whisk together lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar, olive oil (drizzle in slowly), a couple large pinches of sea salt, and a few grinds of black pepper.
Variations
  1. Add some crumbled feta cheese, cubed fresh mozzarella, or some kind of toasted nut (sliced almonds, pistachios, or pecans) to the top of the salad along with the nectarines and tomatoes.

Try some other summer salads from cookloveheal.com:

Raw and Grilled Zucchini Salad with Fresh Mint & Lemon

 

Baby Arugula Salad with Berries and Lemongrass Mint Vinaigrette

Southwestern Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

 

Fresh Arugula and Fig Salad with Citrus Dressing and Marcona Almonds

Greek Salad with Creamy Cashew-Dill Dressing

Bon appétit!

 

Grilled Halibut in Cedar Wraps

Grilled halibut in cedar wrap with sweet corn and salad

A new and easy way to make halibut– Grilled Halibut in Cedar Wraps. A big thank you to Fire & Flavor for providing me with cedar wraps to experiment with for Cook Love Heal. This is the first recipe I’ve created using the wraps and I thought it was amazing. Cedar wraps are really easy to use and impart the most delicious flavor.

Here are the steps to making grilled halibut in cedar wraps.

grilled halibut in cedar wraps
Place halibut on cedar wrap and season with vinaigrette.

 

grilled halibut in cedar wraps
Tie wrap with kitchen twine (provided with cedar wraps).

 

grilled halibut in cedar wraps
Place cedar wrapped halibut on grill and cook 4-5 minutes per side depending on thickness.

 

grilled halibut in cedar wraps
Remove from grill onto a clean plate and garnish with fresh basil.

 

Grilled Halibut in Cedar Wraps
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Seafood
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 cedar wraps with kitchen twine (Fire & Flavor brand recommended)
  • 4 4 to 6-ounce halibut fillets
  • unrefined sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemongrass mint white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • a few sprigs Thai basil
Instructions
  1. Place cedar wraps in a glass baking dish or bowl and cover with water. Soak for 30 minutes or so.
  2. Preheat grill to about 350 degrees.
  3. Lightly rinse halibut fillets and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Sprinkle fillets generously with sea salt.
  5. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk together vinegar and oil with a pinch of salt.
  6. Place cedar wraps on a sheet pan or cutting board and wipe dry with a cloth. Place each fillet on a cedar wrap and drizzle each one with vinaigrette.
  7. Fold wrap over fish and tie closed with kitchen twine.
  8. Place wraps on the grill seam-side down first, and cook about 4-5 minutes on each side.
  9. Immediately transfer to a clean plate to catch the juices, which you can pour over the top after it is served.
Serving suggestions
  1. Serve with fresh corn on the cob and an arugula salad.

 

grilled halibut in cedar wraps
Enjoy!

Try other fish recipes from Cook Love Heal:

Baked Wild Salmon with Rosemary and Garlic

Brazilian Fish Stew (Mocqueca)

Crusted Halibut with Caper White Wine Sauce

 

Baby Arugula Salad with Berries and Lemongrass Mint Vinaigrette

baby arugula salad


I’m in love!

In mid-June, I started teaching kids’ cooking classes at Con’ Olio Oils & Vinegars in Austin, TX and was transported into the world of amazing, high quality olive oils and balsamic vinegars from Europe. A few weeks before my classes started I got a tour of the store and sampled a variety of their products. I fell head over heals with everything I tasted, and was especially taken with the white balsamics which are lighter in color and flavor than the dark varieties (which I also love). It was the Lemongrass Mint White Balsamic that I ended up using in this recipe.

Summer is a great time for salads

In summer, I do a lot less cooking, but still like to eat at home. The simple solution is making more salads and using the grill to avoid heating up the kitchen. This Baby Arugula Salad is great for either lunch or dinner with something like a creamy vegetable soup (try Creamy Broccoli Soup or Creamy Butternut Squash Soup) and some fresh bread with olive oil. Make the soup early one morning before it gets hot, and quickly heat it up for meals later in the day or serve chilled.

How to make arugula taste great

This salad took me by surprise. I made during the first week of kids’ cooking camp at Con’ Olio and EVERYONE liked it– even those children that swore up and down they didn’t like vegetables. The key to this salad is finding a dressing that balances the peppery flavor of the baby arugula and the tartness of the berries. On the recommendation of the manager at Con’ Olio (who is also a chef), I used a combination of a mild olive oil and their lemongrass-mint white balsamic vinegar for the dressing. It is just equal parts of each with a little sea salt and black pepper. It was unbelievably delicious! I look forward to trying some of their dark balsamics (like strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, or fig), maybe when the weather cools down a bit.

Baby Arugula Salad with Berries and Lemongrass-Mint Vinaigrette
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
Salad
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese (optional), shaved
  • ¼ cup raspberries
  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • ¼ cup strawberries, sliced
  • ½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
Dressing
Instructions
  1. In a medium prep bowl, mix together arugula and spinach.
  2. Prepare dressing by whisking together olive oil and white balsamic vinegar with a few pinches sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a small mixing bowl or glass measuring cup.
  3. Using a pair of tongs, toss salad greens and Pecorino Romano (if using) with dressing until evenly coated.
  4. Divide greens onto 4 salad plates. Top each salad with a variety of berries and sliced almonds.

baby arugula salad
Baby Arugula Salad from Kids’ Cooking Camp at Con’ Olio Oils & Vinegars- June 2018

Crusted Halibut with Caper White Wine Sauce

Serve this easy fish dish with some basmati rice and some steamed green beans for an elegant evening meal.

Spend less time cooking and more time kissing!

Crusted Halibut with Caper White Wine Sauce
 
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Flaky Crusted Pan-Fried Halibut with Caper White Wine Sauce
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice flour
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 oz halibut fillet
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • ⅓ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • fresh basil, chiffonade, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Combine flour and salt in a shallow dish.
  2. Dredge halibut fillet on both sides in flour mixture. Shake off excess flour and hold on a plate.
  3. Heat heavy-bottomed skillet on medium-high flame for about one minute.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet and immediately place halibut in the pan, flesh side down. Turn heat down to medium-low. Cook for 3 minutes without disturbing the fish to allow a crust to form. Turn the fish over so it is skin side down and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove fillet onto a serving plate while making the sauce.
  5. Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan with the capers. Sauté for about a minute, then add white wine. Let simmer until alcohol cooks off and sauce has reduced by at least one half. Add butter and stir until it is incorporated into the sauce.
  6. Pour sauce over the fish and garnish with fresh basil.