I have always had a weird love/dislike thing going on with fruit. When it’s fresh and in season, I can’t get enough of it. When it’s not, I don’t even bother. This is especially true with berries and ESPECIALLY true with strawberries. They’re such a tease in the off season, too, aren’t they? Always vibrant red and beautifully formed, flown in “fresh” from somewhere in South America. Yet the taste is forever a disappointment and unless they’re drenched in sugar, you might as well be eating a cereal box.
My summer salvation? Turners Fresh Market in Waupaca, Wisconsin.
Located just about ten minutes from my family’s cottage on the beautiful Waupaca Chain O’ Lakes. My childhood summers were spent going to Turners for fresh, locally grown berries, corn and melons. I can’t say that I loved or appreciated the fresh strawberries as a child but now as an adult, I treasure them.
This year, they were the inspiration for this wonderfully fresh salad I made last night with ingredients I happened to have on hand in the fridge: organic arugula and crumbled goat cheese from Trader Joes. Just needed a simple little lemon vinaigrette with a touch of honey for added sweetness, to finish.
In my morning after “post game” analysis, I decided that some slivered almonds would be a nice addition. I also think any kind of berries could be substituted for the strawberries as long as they’re fresh and sweet. And of course the dislikers of arugula can substitute baby spinach or the tried and true “spring mix.”
Strawberry Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and Honey Lemon Dressing
- 4-5 ounces arugula (preferably organic)
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, halved (or quartered if large) (see Note>)
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 2 TBS slivered almonds toasted (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Combine ingredients for dressing in a glass jar and shake to combine. Adjust seasonings as necessary.
For salad, place all ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle some of the dressing over and very lightly toss. Serve immediately.
Note> This salad works best with very sweet, farm fresh strawberries. If preparing in the off season, toss berries with a little bit of sugar and let stand for about 30 minutes before adding to salad.