Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Spinach & Strawberries Salad

We’ve had an informal and infrequently-meeting gourmet group for a few years. Initially we met every couple of months, but then traveling got in the way of more than one gathering. Now we seem to meet only when one of us can manage to get everyone’s schedule to jibe. And initially the group was also a “healthy” gourmet group. We called it – and still do – the HGG (Health Gourmet Group). The healthy part lasted about 2 years, I’d say, and now it’s more like a “try to be healthy if you can” group. But when we do get together, we have a great time.

My friend Sue brought this salad to one of our dinners, and everybody just loved it. I’ve served it more than once since then, always to raves. There is an elusive flavor in this salad, or maybe it’s just the combo with the strawberries, which isn’t often seen in salads. Sue said the recipe came from one of her Junior League cookbooks. I’ve altered the recipe a little – reducing the amount of greens to serve 6 – it served way more originally, and I always had leftovers which didn’t keep, of course.

I made this as a separate course the other night for a large dinner party, while the main entrée finished off its cooking in the oven. I liked doing that because this salad is just so darned good to get diluted with more intense flavors from the beef we had for our entrée, or the seasoned vegetables either. Know what I mean?

Cook’s Notes: Get everything all ready ahead of time and it’s but seconds to get the salad mixed and served. Sprinkle some of the toasted almonds in the salad, then add a few more on the top of each serving (or if you’re passing the salad, just sprinkle them on top). Be sure to use baby spinach, as full-leafed spinach is too cumbersome to eat easily and a bit too tough in my estimation.

Spinach & Berries Salad
Recipe By: from my friend Sue, from a Junior League cookbook
Serving Size: 10
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 cloves garlic -- minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 cup slivered almonds -- toasted
12 ounces spinach leaves -- baby spinach if possible
1 head butter lettuce
1 bunch green onions -- chopped
1 pint strawberries -- thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh dill -- minced
1. Mix salad dressing - olive oil through onion powder - and allow to sit to mellow flavors.
2. Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl and pour dressing (taste to see how much is needed) over.

Per Serving: 198 Calories; 17g Fat (72.3% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 11g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 75mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 3 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.


Jancd said...

Where is the tarragon and chervil? This salad does look very good. Jancd

Carolyn T said...

Oh, I'm losin' it. The tarragon was in the strawberry gazpacho I also made (posted last summer). I mixed up my ingredients here. Sorry! No tarragon or chervil in this salad. Just dill. And would you believe I had the dill, but forgot to put it in.

jancd said...

Yes, I would believe it. What herbs do you grow in your garden? I have thyme, oregano, basil and rosemary, oh, and some mint. I've never grown dill. Keep posting. I so enjoy your stories and recipes. Jancd

Carolyn T said...

Our garden currently has oregano, thyme (2 varieties), rosemary, lavender, and some Italian parsley. In the summer we'll usually also have basil, and tarragon, although the plant we had died. I like to have mint, but since my DH does all the gardening, he got mad at the mint (that was out of control) and ripped it all out. Hope to convince him to put in at least one pot of mint. I also request chives too.