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solo adventures

Recipes from the Road | Montana

By Laura Reyes

I was curious about the allure of Montana. I was curious how ranch land met the wild mountains that drew hunters, writers, and outdoor enthusiasts. I was curious about the land that ultimately birthed Yellowstone, our first national park. 

The first place I wanted to visit, the minute I landed in Montana was Livingston. I needed to see for myself this place that the late author, Jim Harrison called home. [1] I have always been intrigued by how the land influences the art that is created there. I wanted to see this land that the disciplined writer called home and beheld from his writing desk. 

After meandering around Livingston, I stopped for lunch at Mustang [2].

Their fresh and hand-crafted menu won me over even though I was craving french fries. Mustang is a counter-service restaurant and their display case was abundant with roasted vegetables, fresh salads, and baked goods. I seemed to be the odd man out. The diners who ordered before and after me ordered the chicken pot pies. But the weather was hot so I ordered salads.

The arugula salad I had was such a great combination of ingredients that I wanted to recreate it.

Here is my best approximation of the salad I had in Livingston. Enjoy!

Arugula, Radish, and Pea Salad

(adapted from Mustang’s arugula salad)

Makes 2 Servings

INGREDIENTS

Lemon Dressing:

1 large lemon

1 clove garlic

½ teaspoon whole grain mustard

coconut oil, sunflower oil or other neutral-flavored oil

honey, agave, maple syrup to taste

salt to taste

white pepper to taste

Salad:

2 large handfuls of arugula

2 radishes, thinly sliced

⅔ cup peas

1 scallion, thinly sliced

⅔ cup cooked grains (The original Mustang salad used farro, I used what I had on hand, wild rice. Any grain will work)

Equipment:

Rice cooker

Knife

Cutting board

Lemon squeezer

Fine Mesh strainer

Glass jar or bottle

RECIPE PREP

Cook your chosen grains according to appropriate ratio. I used wild rice which called for 3 parts of water to 1 part of rice. This can be done on the stovetop. I used a rice cooker.

Make the dressing. Peel and mince the clove of garlic. Sprinkle salt on top of the minced garlic. With the side of a chef’s knife, grind the salt and minced garlic into a paste and add to the jar.

Place the strainer on top of the jar or bottle you are using, and squeeze lemon juice through it to strain out the seeds. Add the mustard, white pepper, and small amount of sweetener (approximately a teaspoon). Shake to combine.

Add oil to taste. I like the dressing to taste very lemony and not sweet. I add enough sweetener to balance the lemon. [3]

Assemble the salad. Thinly slice the radishes and scallion. Defrost peas if using frozen. Toss arugula, peas, radishes, scallions, and grain. Lightly coat with dressing. Enjoy!

NOTE

If you are new to using coconut oil, refined coconut oil will have a neutral taste. When you store the finished dressing in the refrigerator, the dressing will solidify. Fear not! Simply bring the dressing to room temperature before using.

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FOOTNOTES

  1. The late, great Anthony Bourdain is a masterful storyteller. His Montana episode of Parts Unknown (season 7 episode 4) featured author Jim Harrison. I credit this episode with evoking a sense of awe that drew me to Montana.
  2. Visit Mustang in Livingston, Montana.
  3. The traditional vinaigrette ratio is one part vinegar or acid to three parts of oil. I love this article that encourages you to use your taste buds to judge the quantities instead. 

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