I adapted this recipe from a salad in Mario Batali's Babbo cookbook. In that salad, the arugula is blanched and makes up the base of the salad, with the bread, truffles and pepperonata arranged over the top of the blanched greens. I love the flavors, but wanted to find a way to make it more "portable" so I could do it at a party. The blanched arugula wouldn't exactly work, so we did this arugula pesto.
- 15 ounces goat cheese (low water content, so you can form truffles)
- Fennel seeds, ground to a dust
- Poppy seeds
Roll goat cheese into 1" balls. Roll a third of them in each of the spices above.
1 Recipe Arugula Pesto
- 5 ounce packaged washed/dried arugula
- 1 ounce parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
- 3 cloves garlic--skin still on
- Large 1/3 cup raw walnuts
- 4-6 T EVOO
- Large pinch of salt
Place walnuts in food processor and pulse until coarse-grained. Add everything else except EVOO and salt. Pulse till all is coarsely ground. Add 4 T oil, and pulse till you achieve correct pesto consistency --pretty fine, but no where near a paste. You should be able to distinguish individual grains. Add more EVOO if you need it, and salt to taste.
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced 3 mm thick
- 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced 3 mm thick
- 2 T canola oil
- 2 T sherry vinegar
Heat canola oil over high. Add peppers, and saute until beginning to brown. Add sherry vinegar, and cook around 30 seconds more. Season with salt and pepper.
- 1 baguette, sliced into 1/4" slices (not on the bias), and toasted on both sides
Split all truffles in half. Spread one hemisphere of one flavor of truffle onto the sliced baguette. Spread appx 1 tsp arugula pesto on top of that. Then spoon around 1 tablespoon of pepperonata onto arugula pesto. Place another hemisphere of a different flavor of truffle on top. The colors on this are great, especially for Christmas.
Note: All except bread can be made ahead--up to several days. If you make the pesto ahead, just make sure to add a small amount of EVOO to the top to prevent it from oxidizing.