In this week’s Junkyard Tales story "Strawberries", the Junkyard animals are searching for the perfect birthday present for Georgia Bean, the kindly rat. With the help of the ever-entertaining raccoons, the Rowlands, Ben, the clever cat, finally comes up with the perfect present for the birthday girl — strawberries!
Indeed, in late May when they’re in season, strawberries are perfect for… well, just about everything. In our family we like to visit a local pick-your-own farm and gather several pounds. We then take them home and eat them daily until they’re gone — such a treat!While strawberries make wonderful dessert and are a favorite for freezer jam, they can also be mixed into a salad for a more dinner appropriate option. With a simple homemade vinaigrette dressing, this salad is also a cool treat for the first summer night that you don’t feel like turning on your oven.
Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad
For the salad
1-2 heads of butter or romaine lettuce
1 pound of strawberries
4 ounces of goat cheese
½ medium red onion
a sprinkling of rinsed capers or a few strips of crumbled bacon
For the vinaigrette
2 ounces extra virgin olive oil
½ ounce balsamic vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
1 Tablespoon honey
salt and pepper (about 1 tsp of each, or to taste)
First, put the goat cheese in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to make it easier to slice.
While the cheese is chilling, rinse and chop the lettuce, and put it in a large serving bowl.
Then, wash, hull, and slice the strawberries. Taste one or two for sweetness — c’mon, you know you want to — and feel free to add a teaspoon of honey or sugar if you think they need it. Layer the strawberries on top of the lettuce.
Next, slice the onion. I like to just barely cook onions in order to mellow their flavor, so I typically toss the onion slices into a skillet over medium heat for just a minute or two. When they’re finished, add the onions to the strawberries and lettuce.
Now turn to the goat cheese. It should be easier to slice after its brief trip to your freezer, but if you’re still having trouble with a knife, try using a length of dental floss. (Most recipes recommend unflavored floss, but I frequently use mint and can’t ever taste it on the cheese.) Cut the cheese into about ½ inch slices and layer them on the salad.
Last, we like this salad best with a salty component to contrast with the sweet strawberries and goat cheese. A few tablespoons of rinsed capers or two or three crumbled slices of crispy bacon are each good choices. Just use what you have on hand.
For the vinaigrette, use a mason jar to measure the ingredients, then put the lid on and shake like crazy. (This is a great job to give a little one who may be in the kitchen eating all of your strawberries.) Drizzle a bit of dressing over each person’s portion of salad and enjoy strawberry season!
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred year old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two pre-schoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion--showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun--in her weekly Sparkle Kitchen posts.
When Meryl isn't writing for Sparkle Kitchen, you can find her on her personal blog, My Bit of Earth, where she writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day.