Sweet and savory and refreshing
When blackberries are at their summer peak, this is a wonderful way to add their sweet tang to a salad made with peppery arugula and salty feta cheese.
By marinating the red onions in a little vinegar for a few minutes before making the salad, they become softer and their raw bite is also diminished.
Feta cheese comes in many different forms but it's always best to use a block of feta instead one that is already crumbled -- its flavor will be far superior. I also prefer sheep's milk feta to one made with cow's milk because its flavor is more interesting. And given the choice between Greek, French or Bulgarian feta, I prefer the texture and full salty flavor of the Bulgarian -- but ask for a taste first from your cheese shop and decide for yourself.
1 medium red onion, enough to make about 3/4 cup when sliced
3 tablespoons red wine or sherry vinegar
2 pints fresh blackberries
4 to 6 cups arugula, baby or full leaf
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Slice the onion in very thin slices. If the onion is larger, cut it in half so that your slices are like half-moons. Place in a small bowl and add the vinegar, using a fork to toss the onion in the vinegar. Set aside for about 15 minutes so that the onion slices get slightly softened.
- Pick through the blackberries for any bits of leaf or berries that may be spoiled. Do not wash them as the water will turn the berries into mush. Hold aside.
- Wash the arugula thoroughly. If using full leaf arugula, tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Place the arugula into your serving bowl.
- On top of the arugula place the berries in a row in the center. Add the feta on one side of the berries and on the other, place the red onions, taken out of the vinegar and shaken a bit to remove any excess vinegar.
- In the vinegar left behind from marinating the onions, add the mustard, a pinch of salt, several grinds of black pepper, and the olive oil, and using a fork, whisk until combined. Taste and adjust for seasoning or if more vinegar or oil is needed to get the right balance of flavors.
- Pour over the salad and gently toss to combine, taking care to not crush the berries.
- Serve immediately.
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