Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fresh Arugula Salad with Bacon, Tomatoes, Feta & Quail Eggs + My Favorite Balsamic Vinaigrette

I've been searching for the perfect balsamic vinaigrette that's easy to make at home and tastes delectable.  I'm thrilled to say that I've finally perfected said recipe and am eager to share it with you all!

This salad was inspired by a trip to our local farmers market a few weeks ago.  I purchased some gorgeous arugula, red & yellow tomatoes, and a dozen cute-as-a-button quail eggs.  That's the thing I adore about farmers markets...I always find something new and exciting that I usually don't cook or bake with.  

When I stumbled upon these quail eggs, I knew that I had to try some.  This is the first time I've cooked with them, and it was a success.  They taste just like a regular egg (surprise!), with a mild flavor.  Just be careful not to overcook them, and you'll be good to go.

A fantastic salad is one of my favorite things to eat during the summer.  The flavor combinations are endless and change with what's in season.  This dressing is a wonderful staple that will taste great on countless salads!

Bon Appetit, my friends!

Fresh Arugula Salad with Bacon, Tomatoes, Feta & Quail Eggs

For the Balsamic Dressing:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup grapeseed oil

For the Salad:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 quail eggs
4 slices bacon
4 cups baby arugula
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled  
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Make the dressing:
Combine the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a bowl. While whisking everything together, slowly drizzle in the grapeseed oil.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  

Place chicken in a baking dish and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil.  Season with salt & pepper (or your favorite seasonings).  Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.  Allow to cool and then slice.

Add the quail eggs to a medium pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 4 minutes. Carefully remove the eggs from the pot and place in an ice water bath. After 5 minutes, peel the eggs and slice them in half.  

Add the bacon to a large skillet (preferably cast iron) set over low-medium heat. Cook until crisp, flipping several times. Drain on paper towels. Once cool, crumble into small pieces.

In a large bowl, combine the arugula, chicken, tomatoes, bacon, quail eggs, and feta cheese. Whisk the balsamic dressing vigorously to combine well and then drizzle over the salad.  Gently toss together, and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve with your favorite bread.

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