Best Bites: Olivéa's Arugula and Red Endive Salad

August 2012

With a few exceptions, the restaurant salad used to be an uninspired pile of greens tossed with balsamic vinaigrette. Then the (now-ubiquitous) caprese and beet varieties took hold and paved the way for more selection. But it's been under the guise of farm-to-table cuisine that salads have truly come into their own. Sometimes, as is the case with Olivéa's arugula and red endive (pictured), they even become menu stars.

Order this tangle of peppery arugula and bitter endive and you'll know what I mean. Tucked inside the leaves are nuggets of fresh corn and slivered toasted almonds, along with goat cheese and an herbal marjoram dressing that coats the tines of your fork. The pièce de résistance, however, is the most unlikely: pickled chiles that add crunch, zip, and brilliance.

Paired with a glass of chilled Chateau du Rouet rosé, this dazzling salad is satisfying enough to stand in as a light meal. (That also leaves plenty of room for dessert, most notably the summery basil semifreddo with toasted olive cake and an arresting strawberry-black pepper sorbet.)

Recipe bonus: Olivéa's salad had me searching online for something similar. I plan on working this recipe into the week's menu plan—and I'll add Olathe corn and MMLocal's high desert peppers for good measure.

719 E. 17th Ave., 303-861-5050