Wednesday, March 9, 2011

4th of July Strawberry-Spinach Salad

Catagory: Fruits and Vegetables
Difficulty Rating: Easy

First served about 7 years ago at the annual Fourth of July BBQ at the Reynolds house--this fruit and spinach salad was a big hit. Almost as big a hit as the home-runs Walter Brighton always hits over the fence at the annual soft-ball game! He and my hubby Alan look like twins--German Bavarian twins, bald heads, mustaches and bodies built for hauling. When they stand together you can just imagine them in Leiderhosen singing "Vunderbar". Such cute knees... I especially like this recipe because it's easy and relatively inexpensive! And in this version you can either use all strawberries or half cantaloupe...

Strawberry-Spinach Salad


8 C loosely packed fresh spinach leaves, washed, dried and crisped in the fridge in plastic bags
3 1/2 C strawberries OR 2 C cubed cantaloupe and 1 1/2 C strawberries ( washed and hulled)
3 T cider vinegar or raspberry white wine vinegar ( for a less acidic taste-use rice wine vinegar)
2 T water
1 1/2 T honey (or to taste)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t paprika
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t poppy seeds (optional)
1/2 red onion, sliced in very thin rings
Crumbled Feta cheese or chopped macadamia nuts for garnish--(optional)

Note: When cooking with honey, always grease your measuring spoon or cups before measuring honey. More accurate measurements that way!

Take 8 cups washed, crisped spinach and put in a large salad bowl. Slice strawberries in half--put on top of spinach in bowl with cubed cantaloupe (if you're using it). In electric blender or a small mixing bowl with a whisk, combine all ingredients except poppy seeds and onion. Taste the vinaigrette--it should be light and sweet but tangy. Add more honey if it's too vinegar-y for your taste. I don't use poppy seeds in my dressing, but you can add 1/4 teaspoon to the dressing if you want polka dots on your fruit. Add sliced onion to the bowl of spinach and fruit and toss with dressing at the last minute. This is also very pretty served as a "salad compose" on separate salad plates if you want to take the time to arrange the fruit on plates instead of tossing it.

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