Sunday, May 22, 2011

Balsamic Marinated Strawberry Salad with Red Onions and Goat Cheese

My new favorite summer salad. Don't skimp on the fresh black pepper - it takes it to another level. With all the bright, sharp flavors going on here, I can't help but think of this as an adult version of a strawberry milkshake. With every bite, my taste buds want to scream 'Summer!'

And to make it even more summery, it requires minimal energy on your part. No whisking up a complicated dressing or cutting up lots of different ingredients.

Viva La Summer!

Balsamic Marinated Strawberry Salad with Red Onions and Goat Cheese
Serves 2.
* Strawberries and balsamic vinegar should be combined and refrigerated at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours ahead of time.
* If you don't have lemon flavored olive oil, use regular and give the berries a spritz of lemon when you add the oil.

4 large strawberries, stems removed and quartered
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Pinch salt
Good grating fresh black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon flavored olive oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion (about 1/4 of a medium red onion)
4 kalamata olives, pits remove and broken into small chunks with your fingers
Additional pinch salt and more pepper if desired
1/2 cup croutons
Couple hefty handfuls fresh basil leaves
1 handful fresh mint leaves
Pinch boxwood basil leaves, optional
1 oz goat cheese, divided, or more to taste

Add the quartered strawberries, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to a large ziploc or plastic container. Toss well, seal and refrigerate for at least 2 and up to 8 hours.

Remove from fridge and add 1 tablespoon lemon flavored olive oil. Let sit while you slice the onions, then add the onions to the berries. Break up the kalamata olives and add to the mixture along with another pinch salt and pepper. If you are nearly ready to eat, stir in the croutons and set aside (you want them slightly softened by the vinegar but not obliterated by it.) If not, wait until five minutes before you eat.

Meanwhile, plate a handful of fresh basil leaves per salad plate along with some freshly torn mint and/or other fresh herbs (some boxwood basil leaves are fantastic!) to your liking. Divide the berry/balsamic/onion/olive/crouton mixture between the plates over the top of the herbs, then the goat cheese, breaking up into bits with your fingers.

Serve right away, with additional fresh cracked pepper if desired.


Jenn said...

Lovely!! Definitely summer on a plate :) I love strawberries and balsamic... YUM!

Karen said...

Great salad. Hope you're having a fabulous time in Cabo! Enjoy every minute of it. :-)

Design Wine and Dine said...

This looks freakin beautiful! The combination of the goat cheese and berries is one of my faves!

Karen said...

Oh gosh, this looks and sounds very good. I think it's odd that balsamic and strawberries go so well together... it doesn't seem like they should!