Lemon Myrtle, Pear and Arugula Salad

When I visited my niece in Melbourne, Australia, she prepared this salad for me and it was spectacular. In fact the entire meal was wonderful and she cooked and assembled everything in the small kitchen of her historic home. The star of this recipe is Lemon Myrtle.

Lemon Myrtle is an Australian super food. It is one of the most popular Australian herbs with a citrus and menthol flavor. Use it in pasta, breads and in this case as a seasoning for a fresh pear salad. It can be substituted for bay leaves in marinades, soups and stews or ground and added to salad dressings or yogurt. This recipe is best if the apple and the pear are as fresh as can be. You can substitute lemon verbena or lemon grass for the lemon myrtle.

As she prepared this recipe, I sat at her kitchen table admiring her home. The woodwork made the visit even more magical. You’ll notice in the photo below cutouts. The two in the middle are Lady’s Slippers. When I was a young girl, my grandfather’s birthday gift to me was taking me on a hike through our woods to find the pink Lady’s Slippers in bloom; they always made a spectacular showing right on schedule. Lady’s Slippers are a delicate, orchid that grow wild. They are rare and native to North America. How amazing that they greeted me upon my first visit to Melbourne.

Ingredients

  • One crisp green apple

  • One seasonal pear

  • 2 cups arugula, rinsed and drained

  • Juice of one lemon

  • 1/2 small yellow onion

  • 2 medium stalks celery

  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios, toasted

  • 1 tablespoons lemon myrtle powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper or Tasmanian mountain pepper berry

  • 1/2 tablespoon pistachio oil or sesame oil

Directions

  • Shell the pistachios and toast in a 350-degree oven until just crisp. Remove from oven and cool. Then chop into small pieces.
  • Place the arugula into a fancy serving bowl. Add the pistachio oil and gently toss.
  • Thinly slice the celery and onion. Slice the apple and pear into slightly larger pieces than the celery and onion. Add to the bowl of arugula and immediately add the lemon juice to keep the fruit fresh.
  • Toss in the lemon myrtle, nuts and other seasonings.