While looking for easy to prepare, nice summer salads, we came across this one in Williams Sonoma‘s New Flavors for Salads – Classic Flavors Redefined:
Baby Spinach Salad with Roasted Strawberries
The flavor of this salad sparkles with the bright acidity of red wine vinegar, its tartness tempered by the sweetness of fresh orange juice. Roasting strawberries with a bit of sugar intensifies their fruitiness and softens their texture, creating a nice counterpoint to the salty cheese and crunchy toasted almonds.
- large strawberries, 2 pints (1 pound total weight)
- extra-virgin olive oil, 8 tablespoons
- sugar, 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- fresh orange juice, 1/4 cup
- fresh tarragon leaves, 4 teaspoons finely chopped
- blanched whole almonds, 1 cup toasted *
- baby spinach, 9 cups
- pecorino romano cheese, 9 ounces shredded
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Using a pairing knife, hull the strawberries** and cut them in half lengthwise. Spread the berries on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with with 2 teaspoons sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of pepper. Toss to coat the berries evenly, then spread them out again. Roast until softened, about 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
In a small nonreactive bowl, whisk together the vinegar, or orange juice, tarragon, the 3 tablespoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of pepper until the sugar dissolves. Slowly whisk in the remaining 6 tablespoons olive oil until well blended to make a vinaigrette. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
In a small bowl, stir together the almonds and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl, combine the spinach, 3/4 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper. Whisk the vinaigrette to recombine, drizzle about one-third of it over the spinach and toss well (reserve the remaining vinaigrette for another use). Taste and adjust the seasonings. Divide the dressed spinach evenly among individual plates, top each serving with an equal amount of the roasted strawberries, and sprinkle with the almonds and cheese. Serve right away.
Makes 6 servings
* toasting nuts and seeds
Toasting nuts and seeds crisps their texture and lightly browns them, giving them a rich full flavor. Be sure to let toasted nuts and seeds cool to room temperature before use.
in the oven Scatter the nuts or seeds in an even layer in a baking dish or on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in a 325 F. oven stirring once or twice, until fragrant and slightly darkened in color , 5-10 minutes, depending on the size and quantity of the nuts or seeds.
on the stove top Place the nuts or seeds in an even layer in a frying pan. Toast over medium heat , stirring or shaking the pan often, until fragrant and slightly darkened in color, 2-5 minutes, depending on the size and quantity of the nuts or seeds.
** hulling strawberries
Hull fresh strawberries after washing them and just before use.
- Insert the tip of a pairing knife – Insert the sharp tip of a pairing knife at a slight angle just below the stem areauntil the tip of the knife reaches the center of the berry.
- Trim and pull off the top – Cut around the stem area, rotating the berry to make a circular cut. Gently pull or pry off the top.
Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!