Some spring seasons have come and gone when I haven’t devoted much time to utilizing strawberries. This year for some reason I feel as though I’m on a mission to use them in as many ways as possible.
When I was growing up we lived next door to a farm where every year one large field was planted with strawberries. When they began to ripen, several of us teen-agers were hired to help with picking and the berries were sold at a road-side farm stand. Picking strawberries by hand is an experience not to be missed (or forgotten, either). The work is hard on the knees and back, but the opportunity to sample warm, sweet, juicy strawberries, right off the plant more than made up for the aches and pains in the back and knees.
On most days when I got off work, I was sent home with a basket of berries for my folks. As I recall the only ways my mother served strawberries was as a shortcake or fresh strawberry pie.
We did not have access to California grown strawberries in the supermarkets as we do now. So when the berries were ripe (usually end of May through to July 4, if the weather was good) we ate berries often, made jam, and froze some sliced and ready for recipes in the months ahead. And since they are fruit they were designated as dessert. Now-a-days we add fruits to main entrees, and salads, and I like the sweetness fruits add to a dish. The recipe I have for you today is just such a combination; a spinach salad with strawberries, goat cheese, or feta, and almonds. The dressing is a balsamic vinaigrette, which really complements the strawberries and helps to bring out their sweetness. This is very easy and quick to make, and goes with a variety of main dishes. With all that spinach, its also healthy and good for you, so try this while berries are “in season” where ever you live.
SPINACH AND STRAWBERRY SALAD
- 1 ( 5 – 7 oz. pkg.) Baby Spinach
- 2 cups sliced strawberries
- 1 / 2 cup crumbled goat or feta cheese
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1 Tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried basil
- salt and pepper
1. Combine spinach and strawberries in a large bowl.
2. Whisk together the vinegar and oil in a small bowl. Add the basil and season with salt and pepper.
3. Add vinaigrette to salad and toss gently to evenly coat. Divide salad among four plates. Sprinkle each salad with cheese and almonds.
SOURCE: TASTE OF HOME