April 23, 2006

April in Italy - Global cuisine with local ingredients

Taking inspiration from their recent vacation abroad, Steve and Laura chose "Italian" as the theme for this month's supper club soiree. Our contribution to the menu was Arugula, Roasted Tomato, and Goat Cheese Salad with Maple-Balsamic Dressing. Well-stocked from an afternoon on the Embarcadero, I got a preview in constructing a dish primarily from local ingredients.

Okay, so I started easy. Even with the record rainfall in March and April, fresh salad-fixings are fairly easy to find at any self-respecting Northern California farmers' market. But everyone's got to start somewhere...

For those locally-focused and San Francisco Bay Area based, I've included sourcing details with the recipe below.

Arugula, Roasted Tomato, and Goat Cheese Salad
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (source: Capay Organic Farm, Capay CA)
1/4 cup Maple-Balsamic Dressing, divided
Cooking spray (left it out, tossed tomatoes in olive oil from Big Paw Grub, Calistoga, CA)
8 cups loosely packed baby arugula, watercress, or spinach (about 4 ounces) (source: Capay Organic)
1/4 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion (source: J&J Farms, Stockton, CA)
2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese (source: Bodega & Yerba Santa Goat Cheese, Lakeport, CA)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (source: my well-stocked pantry)

Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine the tomatoes and 2 tablespoons Maple-Balsamic Dressing; toss well to coat. Arrange tomatoes, cut sides up, on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until tomatoes soften. Cool completely.

Combine tomatoes, baby arugula, and onion in a large bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons Maple-Balsamic Dressing; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle evenly with cheese and pepper.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: about 1 1/3 cups salad and 1 teaspoon cheese)

CALORIES 47(44% from fat); FAT 2.3g (sat 0.6g,mono 1.3g,poly 0.3g); PROTEIN 1.5g; CHOLESTEROL 1mg; CALCIUM 54mg; SODIUM 97mg; FIBER 0.9g; IRON 0.7mg; CARBOHYDRATE 6g

Maple-Balsamic Dressing
1/2 cup tomato juice (source: my well-stocked pantry)
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar (source: Big Paw Grub)
1/4 cup maple syrup (source: my well-stocked pantry)
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary (source: Eat Well Farm, Davis, CA)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (source: my W-SP)
1/2 teaspoon salt (source: my W-SP)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (source: my W-SP)
2 garlic cloves, minced (source: Capay Organic)
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (source: Big Paw Grub)

Combine all ingredients except oil, stirring well. Gradually add oil, stirring constantly with a whisk until well combined.

Note: Refrigerate dressing in an airtight container for up to five days; stir well before using.

Yield: About 1 cup (serving size: 1 tablespoon)

CALORIES 39(53% from fat); FAT 2.3g (sat 0.3g,mono 1.7g,poly 0.2g); PROTEIN 0.2g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 8mg; SODIUM 118mg; FIBER 0.1g; IRON 0.2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 4.7g