One of spring’s greatest joy is the arrival of local strawberries. Plump, ruby red and oh-so-sweet, they are worth waiting for all year! One bite and you know this is how strawberries were made to taste! After eating my fill of luscious berries one-by-one from their slender stems, the windfall of sweet juicy berries begged to be showcased in a recipe where their sweetness could be enjoyed simply.
I decided on a big layered salad. I like to make salads in shallow and wide vessels so the toppings are spread across the whole salad. Arugula is one of my favorite salad greens but you could substitute spinach or field greens. I added mint from the garden for a burst of spicyness while creamy goat cheese and toasted pecans introduced some protein and texture. The dressing is light and citrusy, perfect to highlight the sweetness of the strawberries with the added nice crunch of poppy seeds. A bright and fresh salad to herald in strawberry season!
STRAWBERRY~CHÈVRE ARUGULA SALAD with ORANGE POPPY SEED DRESSING
9 cups of arugula
1 cup of mint leaves
2 cups of strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
3 thin slices of red onion, the rings cut in half and separated into segments
freshly ground pepper
2 oz of crumbled chèvre
2 oz of toasted pecan halves
Dressing: (Adapted from Cooking Light)
1/2 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup of blood orange flavored olive oil (plain is fine), pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon poppy seeds. In a blender or in a bowl using a whisk, emulsify all the ingredients except the poppy seeds. Finish by adding the poppy seeds and mix once to distribute.
In a large shallow dish, place the arugula. Top with the strawberries. With a few grinds of the peppermill, season the strawberries. Layer with, in this order, the mint, onion slices, goat cheese and pecans. Toss with the dressing. Enjoy the jewels of spring!