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Strawberry Fields Salad
April 18, 2012
By Jennifer Chandler

Now at the peak of their season, strawberries lend their delicious sweetness to savory dishes as well as desserts. This salad balances a variety of flavors and textures to capture the essence of spring.

PHOTO BY JENNIFER CHANDLER

Now at the peak of their season, strawberries lend their delicious sweetness to savory dishes as well as desserts. This salad balances a variety of flavors and textures to capture the essence of spring.

Strawberries herald the beginning of spring. Now at their peak, these luscious berries are the first fruits of the season.

Locally grown berries are currently available at our local farmers markets and in grocery stores throughout town.

Most people think of strawberries as dessert, but these juicy berries can add a delicious sweetness to a savory dish.

This fresh and bright salad captures the essence of spring. It has the perfect combination of tastes and textures. Each element -- sweetness from the fruit, tartness from the baby lettuces, saltiness from the cheese and crunch from the nuts -- complements the others.

The blush wine vinaigrette is a homemade version of a popular store-bought dressing. Dressings are very simple to make, since most, like this one, use ingredients most people have in their pantry. This one has a brighter flavor thanks to the freshly squeezed lemon juice, no preservatives or MSG and costs much less than the bottled version.

Add sliced chicken or a piece of salmon, and you have a complete meal.

Jennifer Chandler is the author of "Simply Salads" (Thomas Nelson, $24.99), "Simply Suppers: Easy Comfort Food Your Whole Family Will Love" (Thomas Nelson, $24.99) and "Simply Grilling" (Thomas Nelson, $24.99). She lives in East Memphis with her husband and two daughters. For more recipes and dinnertime solutions, visitcookwithjennifer.com.

Strawberry Fields Salad

For the blush wine vinaigrette:

3 tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tbsp. granulated sugar

5 tbsp. canola oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:

6 cups mixed baby greens

1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced

2/3 cup green or red grapes, halved

3 tbsp. chopped fresh chives

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the blush wine vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Slowly add the oil in a stream, whisking to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad: In a large salad bowl, toss together the salad blend, strawberries, grapes, chives, almond slices, and crumbled goat cheese. Add the dressing to taste and gently toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 6 appetizer or side salads.

Cooking tip: Mix and match this colorful salad using your favorite ingredients. Try substituting spinach or dried cranberries. Blue cheese is a nice substitute for the goat cheese.


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