Thursday, June 17, 2010

Baby Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Poppyseeds

What is there not to like in this salad?  Delicate baby spinach tossed with my orange vinaigrette, luscious strawberries, decadent caramelized pecans, crunchy poppy seeds; and  for the crowning touch a drizzle of homemade syrupy ' black gold', to create the most amazing summer salad. By the way, homemade balsamic reduction is what I like to refer to as my ' black gold'. It will enhance any food it touches.
My recipe for the orange vinaigrette will carry you through the week.  Just refrigerate and use it on your favorite salads or vegetables.

Macerated Shallots:
1 small shallot finely chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
In a small bowl macerate you shallots in the vinegar and sugar. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the salad. Strain the shallots prior to adding to the salad.

Caramelized Pecans
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans
In a small frying pan melt the butter, add the sugar and pecans and on medium heat cook for about 4 minutes to caramelize the pecans. Transfer to parchment paper to cool.

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons orange juice
zest of one orange (1 tablespoon)
1/3 cup balsamic white vinegar
2/3 cup grape-seed oil
In a bowl add the Dijon mustard, honey, orange juice and balsamic vinegar and whisk together.  Continue whisking and gradually incorporate the grape-seed oil. Season to taste. Makes approximately 1 cup. Refrigerate the remaining vinaigrette in a glass jar for later use.
To assemble:
6 ounces baby spinach
1/2 pint strawberries cut into wedges
1 tablespoon blue poppy seeds
grated orange zest
In a salad bowl add the spinach,strawberries, sprinkle in the poppy seeds and toss gently. Pour in the desired amount of orange vinaigrette and add the caramelized pecans. Gently toss and plate.  Drizzle with balsamic reduction.  Serves 4

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