Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hello Strawberry Salad!

Boy do I love my strawberry salad.  And even better, I love strawberry season!  Well strawberry season is here & it's a official with our local Strawberry Festival that was underway this past weekend:) 

What's so great about strawberry season?  I'll tell ya.  You've got super fresh. sweet. delicious. yummy. you could never have enough of these DELICIOUS strawberries.  And one of my favorite things to make (besides desserts of course:) with this yummy strawberries is my strawberry salad.  And I'm calling it my "Love My Salad: Strawberry Salad".  Why?  Because you'll love it.  Whispering to you: trrrrusst mmmeee:)  And what's even better are that the ingredients to make this salad are easy and accessible.  I'll be giving you the tools, to make this salad, again & again.
I'm taking:
A bowl of fresh strawberries (2 cups sliced)
a 4-ounce of container of crumbled bleu cheese (gorgonzola will do too!)
1 1/2 cups of candied pecans
3 cups of fresh mixed lettuce greens
one small sweet onion or red onion, thinly sliced
**My (secret) vinegrette**
(don't worry, I will give you the recipe;)
To make the candied pecans you simply just melt, 1/4 cup of unsalted butter in a sautee pan, and then add to it a 1/3 cup of dark brown sugar, half a tablespoon of kosher salt and your pecans.  ( I know what you're thinking..."do I really need that much salt?"  The answer is, you do!  The reason being that between the crunchiness of the pecans, and the sweet butteriness of the brown sugar and butter, the amount of salt here, just works.  It really does.  You'll see what I mean. 
Set the pecans aside and let's get our vingrette done.  Go ahead and mix up 1/3 cup of olive oil, 1/3 cup of rice wine vinegar (the plain one), 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon of french dijon mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  And stir.  Now, about here (at this point) is where I would usually warn, "Do not dress your salad until..." but Barefoot Contessa has taught me a thing or to.  So, hold onto your vinagrette.  No need to panic.  Your salad is not going to go wilting all over the place.  But you don't want to dress it now.  At least not until I tell you the right way to dress a salad ahead of time.  It can be done.  You'll see.  (Keep reading:).
Okay, now in a large bowl, you will want to toss (and add these in, in the order that I tell you):
Your greens (mixed lettuces)
your onions
the strawberries
the pecans
the bleu cheese crumbles (or gorgonzola).
Now toss, without the vinagrette.
Now once everyone in the salad bowl looks happy, just take a third of your vingrette and move all of the salad to one side and pour it, only into the bottom of the bowl.  And do NOT toss it again UNTIL you are getting ready to serve it.  Otherwise your salad will wilt.  What to do with the remaining vinegrette?  I like to drizzle most of it (at least half of what's remaining) over the salad and toss right before people eat.
It's one of those salads that's really delicious when you eat it fresh, but you've got to really be in love with it to try and take a bite out of it the next day.  You know what I mean;)

So do you love my salad?  Think that you'll give it a try this strawberry season or next?  Whisper: You can even make this one in the off season....I won't tell anybody.
Bon Appetit & Happy Strawberry Picking!

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xo- Chemeeka

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