One of the best ways to build flavor is layering, or using one ingredient in two ways or at different stages of cooking. Using the zest of a lemon in cake batter, for instance, while using the juice in a citrusy glaze.
It’s a technique relied on often in the book “COOKish,” which limits recipes to just six ingredients without sacrificing flavor. And it works particularly well with pickled jalapeños in this recipe for a simple salad with arugula and avocado.
The jalapenos add juicy bursts of bright heat, but pickling liquid also is treated as a separate ingredient. Using ¼ cup of the liquid as the acid in the vinaigrette boosts the dressing’s flavor without needing additional vinegar.
Along with the avocado, pumpkin seeds offer enough richness to make the salad a light main course, or pair it with sliced grilled skirt steak or hearty grains such as barley, farro or quinoa.
Arugula and Avocado Salad with Jalapeno Vinaigrette
Start to finish: 15 minutes.
3 to 4 tablespoons pickled jalapeno slices, chopped, plus ¼ cup pickling liquid2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oilKosher salt and ground black pepper4 cups lightly packed baby arugula3 radishes, halved and thinly sliced OR ½ English cucumber,halved lengthwise and thinly sliced1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro OR 4 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal¼ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted2 ripe but firm avocados, halved, pitted, peeled and sliced
In a large bowl, whisk together the jalapenos and their liquid, the oil and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add the arugula, radishes, cilantro and half of the pumpkin seeds, then toss. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in the avocado. Transfer to a serving bowl, then sprinkle with the remaining pumpkin seeds.
Christopher Kimball writes for The Associated Press.