|Celebrating Strawberry Season|
Recipe by Robin
Happy first full day of summer (for those of us in the northern hemisphere)! Hope you enjoyed your solstice yesterday.
I love serendipity. What’s not to love when you get the right answer without even knowing the question? I’d wanted to make a strawberry salad for some time, since Live Earth Farm, our CSA, is renowned for its strawberries. I wanted salty feta cheese and a variety of bitter and neutral greens to contrast with the sweet flavor of the strawberries. The spinach and arugula that were on our list to receive last week seemed perfect. However, life is not always predictable, especially when dealing with small scale local farming and Mother Nature. Oh, the irony of having an actual use for the promised arugula (which my husband says tastes like dirt), and not having it in the fridge. And yet, digging a little deeper (literally, in the vegetable drawer), I found a reasonable substitute from past weeks.
|Add as Many Strawberries as You Like|
Ingredients in most strawberry salads are similar: mixed greens, strawberries, nuts, and cheese. However, all sorts of dressings are paired with strawberry salad. Many contain significant amounts of vinegar and oil. Some are simply vinaigrettes with no strawberries at all. I wanted one that was mostly strawberries and naturally sweet with slight balsamic vinegar and even slighter salt notes. I used walnut oil because it’s lightly flavored. You might prefer almond or even olive oil. If your strawberries aren’t very sweet, you might want to increase the amount of agave. You could also substitute honey, which is a bit less sweet and harder to mix in. Lemon juice is key because its sourness compliments the sweet. You might substitute lime juice if you have it on hand.
|Salad Before Dressing|
This salad was a perfect potluck dish for the Live Earth Farm Summer Solstice Celebration last weekend. Since strawberries are in season throughout the summer months, try it for any and all of your summertime celebrations!
serves about 8 – 12
2 cups sliced strawberries, about 1 pint basket
4 cups torn or chopped radicchio
4 cups torn butter lettuce
4 cups torn red leaf lettuce
1/3 cup sliced almonds
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
|Slicing Your Own Almonds|
You can use pre-split almonds, or split your own in half with a sharp knife. Hold the almond firmly between thumb and forefinger, exerting a bit of pressure. With your knife, use a gentle sawing action with the knife across the seam of the almond with gentle pressure till it splits (sometimes not right in the middle, that’s okay). It takes practice, but once you get this technique you won’t need to buy pre-sliced almonds for most uses.
Toast the almonds in toaster oven (regular oven works fine too) at 300 degrees F until fragrant and slightly brown. This will take about 6 minutes, but check at 3 minutes and stir. Check again every minute or so to avoid overcooking. Remove almonds to plate and let cool.
When almonds are completely cooled, sprinkle over salad. Top with feta. Just before serving add salad dressing and toss.
makes 1-1/3 cups
1½ cups sliced strawberries
3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1½ tsp. fresh lemon juice
½ tsp. agave
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
3 tbsp. walnut oil
Puree sliced strawberries in an immersion blender cup.
Add balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, agave, salt and pepper. Blend again.