In 2008, I was asked to manage a rejuvenation at The Old Stove Pub. The Sagaponack, New York steakhouse had been shuttered for five years. My partner, Brian Murray, and I brought it back to its exact specifications for two summers. That meant serving 30-oz, bone-in steaks from the ancient broilers in the tiny kitchen at the back of the original Sagaponack farmhouse on Montauk Highway. It also meant serving an authentic Greek style salad with tomatoes, feta cheese, cucumbers, onions and olives (no lettuce).
As the days went by in the first season, I wanted to offer specials with a twist on the salad without stepping too far from the menu. So I turned to my backyard garden for arugula and “Matt’s Cherry Tomatoes.” Then I added watermelon and feta cheese followed by the same red wine vinaigrette that we used for our Greek Salad.
Ingredients for the ‘Old Stove Salad’:
2-cups arugula, cleaned, dried, and chopped
12 arugula leaves for garnish (don’t chop)
12 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
2-cups watermelon chilled, sliced into cubes
For the dressing:
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp fresh oregano
2 garlic scapes, finely chopped (or 2 cloves garlic)
Whisk all together. Hold in a bottle.
Combine chopped arugula, watermelon, feta cheese and onions and a few twists of black pepper from the grinder in a bowl and toss with dressing as needed (don’t use all the mixture). Place arugula leaves on the edge of four chilled plates and spoon the salad into the middle of the plate. Serve immediately.