I’m a seasonal eater, and I think many others are too…even if they don’t know it. Come the spring, it’s mostly good riddance to the hot and heavy dishes that bring us so much comfort in the cold winter weather, and hello light and fresh, bright and beautiful. This Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad with Fresh Raspberry Vinaigrette is the welcome mat to my Spring palette, and oh, do I love it oh-so-very, very much.
I first tried a version of this at a cousin’s wedding catered by Chef Peter Madden (one of my hometown culinary heroes) years ago. And, if I’m being completely honest, prior to this event, I was not a “fruit-in-the-salad” kind of gal. When it came to lettuce, I was solely savory. However, it only took one bite of this gorgeous compilation of flavors to become completely reformed. The sweet strawberries are balanced by bright and tangy goat cheese, and the crunch of the candied pecans is absolute perfection. Not only is this salad tasty, it’s gorgeous to boot. If you can find the willpower to keep from digging in until the guests arrive, it makes for one show-stopping brunch centerpiece. Please, enjoy.
- 6 cups of spring mix lettuce or baby spinach rinsed and dried
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 1 cup candied pecans store-bought or recipe as follows
- 4 ounces fresh goat cheese crumbled
- ¾ cup raspberry vinaigrette store-bought or recipe as follows
Lightly toss ingredients together and serve immediately.
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar firmly packed
- 2 cups pecan halves
- 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
Have ready a Silpat or a large sheet of wax paper.
Add the water and brown sugar to a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and allow the mixture to come to a rapid simmer. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Should take about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes. Stir in the pecans to evenly coat. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and stir once more.
Carefully, transfer the pecans to the Silpat. If necessary, begin separating the pecans while still warm using two forks to pull them apart. Set aside and allow to completely cool.
- ½ cup fresh raspberries washed and dried
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
In a food processor, fitted with the blade attachment, puree raspberries. To the puree, add the vinegar, honey, salt and pepper and blend to mix ingredients. With the food processor still running, drizzle in olive oil. Set-aside until ready to assemble the salad.
Would pair well with: