Arugula Salad with Toasted Chèvre and Spring Blossoms

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Serves 4 | start to finish: 30 minutes (active time: 10 minutes)

Any assortment of edible flower petals, from spicy nasturtiums to mellow tulips or pansies, taste and look delectable with peppery arugula. Because the flowers are too delicate to be rinsed before eating, use only flowers that have not been sprayed. Even dandelion petals (from a pesticide-free front yard) can add festive color and healthful properties. Other places to find edible flowers are the farmers’ market (again, make sure the flowers are not sprayed). Some grocery stores also carry containers of edible flowers in the fresh herb section of the produce department.

2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces soft chèvre (fresh goat cheese)
1/4 cup bread crumbs or panko
1/3 cup assorted edible flowers, separated into individual petals
1 bunch arugula

Whisk the lemon juice, mustard, honey, and salt together in a small bowl. Let the mixture stand for a few minutes to let the flavors meld, then pour 1/4 cup of the olive oil into the bowl in a thin and steady stream while whisking vigorously. Adjust seasonings to taste, if desired.

Slice the chèvre in 8 pieces and shape into medallions, about 1/2 inch thick. Pour the breadcrumbs onto a shallow plate, drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over the breadcrumbs, and toss lightly with your fingers. Press each medallion into the oiled breadcrumbs, working the crumbs into both sides of each piece. Lay them flat on a sheet pan.

Set the oven to broil and place the sheet pan under the broiler for 3 minutes, or until the bread crumbs begin to brown. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn.

While the chèvre broils, toss the arugula with half of the dressing, adding more to taste. Reserve extra dressing, if any, for a future salad. Arrange the arugula on individual plates or in a large serving bowl. Scatter the flower petals over the top of the salad. Remove the pan from the oven and, using a thin spatula, place two medallions per serving on individual plates, or arrange them around the perimeter of the salad bowl. Serve immediately.

vegetarian ● gluten-free, if using g-f breadcrumbs

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