Spinach Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

Finally, some sun. After what seemed like month of rain here in St. Louis, it was dry enough this morning to get in the garden and pick some spinach.

Rows of spinach, red leaf, butter crunch and other lettuces are growing like crazy. We don’t have a large garden — it’s about 10 feet by 10 feet. It’s large enough to grow a few week’s worth of greens, about five tomato plants, carrots, radish, and summer squash. I’m undecided about summer squash and eggplant this year, last summer’s attempt was a heart breaking experience. I ended up with one 7-pound zucchini, one baby eggplant and that was it!

Soon, as in tomorrow, it will be hot enough here to trigger the bolting instincts in the spinach and lettuce. It’s to reach 90 degrees, yikes! In other words, it’s time to eat lots of salad.

I made this salad today for lunch. It was surprisingly savory. Only the strawberries were sweet. My only suggestion is to add crumbled goat cheese or Gorgonzola. It needed a bit more. There is a little forethought involved. The strawberry vinegar, though easy, takes about an hour of sitting time.

Spinach Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette
adapted from Gourmet Today

2 1/4 tablespoons Strawberry Vinegar (recipe follows)
Rounded 1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 ounces spinach (about 8 cups)
1/2 pound strawberries, hulled and cut lengthwise into thick slices (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted for about 7 minutes on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven
Crumbled goat cheese to taste (optional)

Whisk together vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl until salt is dissolved. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking well.

Put spinach, strawberries, and pecans in a large bowl and toss with just enough vinaigrette to coat lightly.

Serves 6 as a side salad, 2 as an entree.

Strawberry Vinegar

8 ounces strawberries hulled (1 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon sugar (optional — if berries are not sweet)
1 cup white balsamic vinegar

Pulse berries with sugar (if using) in a food processor until finely chopped and very juicy. Transfer to a bowl and add vinegar. Let stand for 1 hour.

Pour vinegar through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl; discard solids. The vinegar keeps, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.

Makes 1 cup.


1 Response to “Spinach Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette”

  1. 1 Kim Stone
    May 31, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Elisa – Loved the salad. Kept the vinegar portions the same as we’d like to do leftovers, but added the goat cheese which went really well with the strawberries. Next time, I may slightly reduce the salt as I’d like the vinagarette just a tad sweeter.

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