It's been very warm outside the last few days, and due to some prior overindulgent eating, salad sounded like the appropriate replacement. I don't like giving up rich food even in a salad, but still this salad screams fresh vibrant colors and tastes. The salad and side are meatless, yet satisfying with a variety of textures that always makes the palate jump up and down for joy.
It was only last year that I first ate arugula. I know, I know--how could I have made it so long without that natural peppery goodness? The alchemic interaction of sweet cucumber vinaigrette along with the peppery arugula and crunchy carrot strings. Oh and I forgot to add, the rich creaminess of the poached egg resting there rounds out the whole bit.
I have also been thinking about sweet potatoes and weird or unorthodox uses for them lately. Along with the joy brought by going home in July come thoughts of foods I love the most. Hush puppies are usually beaming crispy salty balls of goodness. The onion chunks studded beneath the surface punctuate the orbs, except I was wondering what would happen if you added sweet potato. Donald Link has some fascinating recipes in his "Real Cajun" cookbook, and I used a skeleton of his "Cast-Iron Hush Puppies" recipe to form my Honey Sweet Potato Hush puppies loaded with herbs giving them flashy colors as invigorating as the taste.
Sunny Carrot Arugula Salad
1 carrot, julienned
2 eggs, poached
2 C arugula
2 C baby spinach
1 cucumber peeled and deseeded
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
3 grinds black pepper
Heat 1 quart canola oil in a heavy bottom skillet until it reaches 325 degrees. Drop a handful of julienned carrot into the oil and cook for about a minute, stirring so that it does not tangle into a ball. Remove when the carrot becomes crisp and just golden.
Place cucumber, mustard, oil, salt, and pepper in a food processor and pulse until it is a smooth puree. Pour into a fine tipped squirt bottle.
Arrange arugula and spinach in bowls gently placing poached eggs on top and then carrot strings. Drizzle a few stripes of cucumber vinaigrette on top and enjoy.
Honey Sweet Potato Hush puppies
9 green onions
1 jalapeno, deseeded
1/4 C fresh parsley
1/4 C fresh thyme
1 small sweet potato peeled and grated
1 1/4 C yellow cornmeal
1/2 C all-purpose flour
2 T light amber honey
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 C half and half or buttermilk
Use oil that is still hot from frying the carrot strings, just heat up to 350 degrees.
Combine first five ingredients and egg in food processor and pulse until ingredients are a bright shamrock green. Stir dry ingredients together in a large bowl and then incorporate green ingredients, adding honey and sweet potato.
Drop large metal tablespoonfuls of mix in hot oil and cook about 3 minutes and flip cooking about 3 more minutes on the other side. Hush puppies should be milk chocolate brown and vibrant green with cheddar yellow specks inside. Enjoy while still warm, alongside salad.