Chef Brenton’s Blue River Arugula Salad

By Joell Folger

This salad, named for the Blue River that flows north through Breckenridge, has a short list of ingredients that combined are anything but simple. 4 ingredients, including the dressing. Arugula, sunflower seeds and burrata drizzled with sun dried tomato vinaigrette. That’s it, simple, easy, fresh and delicious. After a quick check in with Chef Brenton about any special chef tips, which were none, I was off to the kitchen.

This recipe is pretty straight forward. Until it landed in my hands. Sunflower seeds, a usual staple in my pantry, were nowhere to be found. The jar was empty, no random ranch flavored ones left behind by Ben either. Ugh, the cheese is fresh, there’s baby arugula… I wasn’t going to let this stop me in my salad tracks. Thankfully I had some roasted almonds on hand. They were in a jar with dried blueberries, which I picked around. (Actually, I should have left them mixed with the nuts… next time.) I chopped up some roasted almonds to replace the missing sunflower seeds.

I filled a bowl with arugula, cut up some fresh burrata, added the almonds and drizzled the dressing over it. So easy, so much flavor and texture. Let’s start with the base, baby arugula. It was crisp, nutty and peppery, just the way that I like it. The burrata and dressing had enough saltiness that I did not miss the salt from the sunflower seeds. The sun dried tomato vingiarette played off the fresh cheese in a sweet, salty lighter than pizza way. It struck a perfect balance of savory flavors on pillowy soft cheese, with a crunch from the almonds.

With the ingredients being available all year long, this salad is going to have a long life in my salad rotation. It is light but hearty enough to accompany a pasta meal, actually any meal. It brings bright flavors to winter meals and will be out of this world with fresh summer produce. I will definitely be eating a lot of this salad.

True confessions at the bottom of the page. I did use bottled dressing. Next time, though, I will attempt the dressing on my own. I’ll let you know how that goes.



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