In just a few short weeks of third year, a whole lot of medical jargon has been added to my repertoire. One of my favorite phrases to date is “golden weekend.” Definition: getting both Saturday and Sunday off. As med students, we’re generally guaranteed one weekend day free, but every now and then, we’re gifted a precious two full days of leisure.
This weekend was a golden one for me, and I lived it out to its fullest, catching up with friends, taking walks in the surprisingly cool weather, and of course, cooking, eating, and enjoying great food.
The farmers market was once again teeming with the sweet stone fruits of summer. I had to use every bit of restraint and a self-imposed $10 limit to not buy every last cherry and berry and on display. After great internal debate and a healthy amount of sampling, I came away with a carton of tender and succulent apricots, delicate, fragrant, and at their peak of ripeness. I hesitated to adulterate these precious orange gems in any way other than eating them solo. But after I had done that with a couple immediately upon arriving home, a salad sprung to mind that I was confident would showcase their natural beauty and flavor.
Juicy slices of apricot were combined with spicy arugula, tangy goat cheese, rich pistachios, and sweet fennel and tossed in a simple balsamic vinaigrette. Perhaps it was that I was enjoying it smack dab in the middle of a golden weekend, or that it was made with fancier ingredients that I don’t buy on a regular basis, or that it was enjoyed alongside two of Kate’s specialties, bruschetta and baba ganoush, but there was something about eating this salad that was utterly luxurious and special.
By the next time I’m free to make it back to the market, apricots may have fallen out of season, and the prospects of recreating this very salad may be slim. However, if there’s something I’ve realized so far during third year, it’s not to lament limited free time, but rather to savor these precious spent moments spent enjoying friends, food, and the city around us.
Apricot & Arugula Salad
Serves 2 salad-loving folk, and 4 normal people
3-4 apricots, sliced
3-4 large handfuls of arugula
1 bulb fennel, sliced very thinly (best if you can use a mandoline)
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp pistachios
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp dijon mustard
3 tbsp olive oil
crack of black pepper
pinch of salt
Assemble salad ingredients in a large bowl. Use a fork or whisk to stir all the dressing ingredients vigorously until well combined. Toss salad in dressing just before serving. Enjoy!