The first time I made this salad, I used fresh baby greens that I had picked out of my own garden, and the chives and rosemary came from my herb garden. I had dried the pears the fall before. I felt such a sense of love for my food, since much of it had come from my own toil. I don’t know how much of that feeling translated into how much we loved the salad, but this was the one that converted Derek into a salad person. The arugula is a central part of why it is so good, so please don’t leave it out if you can find it.

Spring Salad for 2-4

6-9 oz mixed baby salad greens, such as red leaf, green leaf, arugula, frisee, etc.
2 oz feta cheese, crumbled (don’t use the garlic or pepper feta, just plain)
a handful of chives, snipped
a sprig or two of rosemary, chopped
a handful of dried pears, chopped into slivers, or dried cranberries or golden raisins
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 T balsamic vinegar
pepper and salt to taste

I like to put the greens into the bowl, then add the olive oil and vinegar, and gently “massage” the salad until the leaves are coated with the dressing. Then I add the other ingredients, and toss just a few times, so all the chunky stuff stays mostly on top and doesn’t get sifted through to the bottom. Taste the salad before you serve it, and add vinegar, salt, pepper, or whatever it needs to taste finished.

The very best part is the combination of dried pears, balsamic vinegar, and arugula. It makes me smile every time. Arugula gets more bitter and peppery as the summer progresses, so this works best with tender baby arugula. I like it with about 1/4 arugula, and 3/4 other mild greens.