Strawberry-Tarragon Salad with Aged Balsamic Vinegar

Serves

Some people raise their eyebrows when they see this unusual salad of strawberries, tarragon, blue cheese and spring mix. But when they taste it — wow!

The secret to its success is a strawberry-infused balsamic vinegar that’s easy to make and well worth the wait. Just be sure to allow a couple of hours for the vinegar to absorb the berry flavor.

Save this recipe for the lucky day when you find baskets of sugar-sweet, organic berries. The recipe makes more than enough dressing for the salad here, so you can enjoy an encore later in the week.

From Food to Live By: The Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook by Myra Goodman


Ingredients

2 pints Earthbound Farm Organic Strawberries (washed and hulled)
1/4 cup good-quality balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Aged balsamic vinegar (preferably at least 6 years old, optional)
3/4 cup tarragon oil (or extra-virgin olive oil)
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  pinch salt
4 ounces Earthbound Farm Organic Spring Mix
1/2 cup fresh whole tarragon leaves
1/4 cup toasted pecans (chopped)
3 ounces crumbled blue cheese (1/2 cup)


Directions

Prepare the flavored vinegar by mashing 3 strawberries against the side of a small bowl with a fork. Add the 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and stir to combine. Set aside at room temperature to allow the vinegar to absorb the strawberry flavor, 1 to 2 hours. Strain the flavored vinegar through a sieve, pressing to release all the liquid from the berries. Discard the solids and set the strawberry vinegar aside.

Meanwhile, cut the remaining strawberries in half lengthwise so they're bite-size. (If you have larger berries, cut them into quarters.)

Place the berries in a small, shallow bowl, add the 2 tablespoons of aged balsamic vinegar and stir to coat. Set aside to marinate at room temperature, 1 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. (If you don't have a high-quality aged balsamic, skip this step and use the strawberries without marinating them.)

Prepare the vinaigrette by placing the strawberry-flavored vinegar, tarragon oil, mustard and salt in a glass jar and close the lid tightly. Shake the jar vigorously to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.

Just before serving, place the greens and tarragon in a large salad bowl and toss to combine. Add 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Toss to lightly coat the leaves, and taste to see if more vinaigrette is needed. (Leftover dressing can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days.)

Transfer the greens to individual salad plates. Arrange the marinated strawberries on the greens and sprinkle with the nuts and cheese. Serve immediately.

This recipe serves 4 as a side salad, with dressing left over for an encore later.

Calories per serving: 570, Fat 54 grams, Cholesterol 15 mg, Sodium 410 mg, Carbohydrates 19 grams, Fiber 4 grams, Sugars 11 grams, Protein 8 grams.

Percentage Daily Values per serving (based on a 2,000-calorie diet): Vitamin A 35%, Vitamin C 160%, Calcium 20%, Iron 20%, Riboflavin (vitamin B2) 10%, Vitamin B6 10%, Folate 15%, Phosphorus 15%, Magnesium 10%, Copper 10%.

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