Friday, April 24, 2009


I’m not a huge proponent of salad recipes, although I have a few of them. It’s probably the last holdover from my years as a picky eater. When I was picky, salads were a minefield—lots of weird ingredients all mixed up together, usually cold (ugh), usually with too much slimy, oily, sour dressing. Now that I’m a grownup, I love vegetables, am more tolerant of different flavor combinations, and frequently find salads a light and refreshing component of a meal…though I’ll admit I don’t really embrace them as an entrée. And food that’s too chilled still gives me the willies. And I think salads are almost always overdressed—if I could apply the dressing with an eyedropper, I would. But besides, that, salads and I get along just fine!

Usually, if I serve a green salad with a meal, it’s just spring mix and homemade vinaigrette (I like 1 part lemon juice to 1 part olive oil, plus salt and pepper), usually with croutons thrown in at A’s request. If I feel like adding other ingredients, like carrots or mushrooms or broccoli or cucumber, I just…add them. No recipe needed, right?

Except I wouldn’t really have thought to put strawberries and arugula and pecans together with a balsamic vinaigrette. So I’m glad I saw this recipe (originally adapted from Everyday Food) at Ezra Pound Cake, and I’m really glad I tried it. The balsamic-soaked strawberries were a great sweet-tart combination in themselves, and they only got better when paired with the peppery arugula and the earthy nuts. Not to mention the fact that the deep red and green look just beautiful together on the plate. I’ll be making this regularly throughout strawberry season—which, in California, is practically all year round.

No edits needed for this recipe. I halved it, and I used candied pecans from Trader Joe’s because that’s what I had on hand.

½ pint strawberries (about 2 cups), hulled and quartered (mine were quite large, so I sliced them)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 bunches arugula, trimmed and thoroughly washed and dried
½ cup toasted pecan halves

1. In a large bowl, toss strawberries with 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar; let sit 5 to 10 minutes.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together another tablespoon of balsamic vinegar with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

3. To the strawberries, add the arugula, the vinaigrette, and the pecans. Toss to combine, and serve immediately.

Serves: 4
Time: 15 minutes
Leftover potential: Low; the dressing will make the arugula soggy

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