Friday, June 8, 2012

Strawberry Arugula Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette

Our first CSA box is in, and with it a whole lot of questions about what to do with our beautiful bounty.  Many salads come to mind with this first many leafy greens!  And many many more salads are yet to come.  I decided to make the inaugural dish from out CSA box  using a recipe provided by the farm.  The green garlic, rosemary, strawberries, arugula, potato onions, and mint were all provided in this week.  Everything else...mustard, almonds, oil, vinegar, lemon, and honey...I already had on hand.  

This is shaping up to be a tasty, tasty summer!

recipe courtesy of Driftless Organics

serves 3-4

The Ingredients:
for the dressing

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar  
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp green garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp honey
salt & pepper to taste
 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

for the salad:
 pint strawberries, sliced
4 cups arugula or mixed greens (I used half arugula, half spinach to cut the peppery bite)
2-3 potato onions, thinly sliced
3-4 Tbsp rosemary vinaigrette (or any vinaigrette)
¼ cup fresh mint, cut chiffonade
¼ cup chopped almonds, toasted

The Process:
for the dressing
Combine the first seven in a bowl and blend with and immersion blender.  Or combine in a blender.  While machine is running, slowly pour in oil until emulsified.  Store in the fridge for two to three weeks.

for the salad
In a large serving bowl, toss strawberries, arugula, onions, and mint with the vinaigrette.   Top nuts and serve immediately.

The Review:
 I couldn't have asked for a better recipe to show case all of our produce's glory.  This salad was everything that I look for in a leafy green dish...crispy greens with some variety and a bit of flavor (I cannot remember the last time I actually had iceburg lettuce), a bit of sweet from the strawberries, a bit of sour from the dressing, an interesting twist from the mint and a bit of crunch from the nuts.  Something with a bit more substantial salt could have sent this through the rough...I am a huge fan of a bit of feta or blue cheese crumbles on top of my salads.  But with ingredients as fresh and bursting with flavor as this, the cheese was not missed much.  The only change I made from Driftless Organic's original was to blend the arugula with spinach (also in our box this week).  Arugula on its own always seemed a bit too aggressive to me.  

The dressing had a wonderfully deep, sour yet slightly sweet flavor.  The rosemary came through and complemented the vinegar so well.   That piney touch added such a wonderful depth when paired with the sweet berries and grassy mint.  The dressing lasted quite a while and was enjoyed on many an additional salad.

It's a pity the part of Wisconsin our farm in located in has had such a hot dry spell as of late.  It looks as though the berries may be kaput for the rest of the season.  The growing season is indeed short compared to our winters.  We will surely savor our veggies while we are able to get them so fresh!

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