Strawberries herald the beginning of spring

May 7, 2019

Now at their peak, these luscious berries are the first fruits of the season.

Credit Justin Fox Burks


For Mother’s Day this weekend, treat your mom to a tasty springtime salad using this sweet berry. A Strawberry Fields Salad is sure to put a smile on her face.

Whereas most people think of strawberries as desserts, these juicy berries can add a delicious sweetness to a savory dish. This fresh and bright salad captures the essence of spring. It has the perfect combination of tastes and textures. Each element of the combination … the sweetness from the fruit, tartness from the baby lettuces, saltiness from the cheese, and crunch from the nuts … compliments the others.

The blush wine vinaigrette is a homemade version of a popular store-bought dressing. Ingredients are simply red wine vinegar, freshly squeezed lemon juice, sugar and canola oil.

Making homemade dressings is very simple since most dressings, like this one, use ingredients most people already have in their pantry. Don’t be surprised if you prefer homemade versions of dressings better than their grocery store counterparts. This one for example has a brighter flavor (thanks to the freshly squeezed lemon juice), has no preservatives or MSG, and costs so much less than the bottled original.

Add sliced chicken or a salmon filet and you have a complete meal.

Locally grown berries are currently available at our local farmers markets and in grocery stores throughout town. If you are up for an adventure, picking your own strawberries is fun for the whole family. Jones Orchards has “You-Pick” fields at both the Agricenter International and at their farm in Millington.

This is Jennifer Chandler with The Weekly Dish. Happy Mother’s Day!     

Strawberry Fields Salad

The blush wine vinaigrette is a homemade version of a popular store-bought dressing. Making homemade dressings is very simple since many dressings, like this one, use ingredients most people already have in their pantry.

For the blush wine vinaigrette:

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:

  • 6 cups mixed baby greens
  • 1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup green or red grapes, halved
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

To make the blush wine vinaigrette: In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, and sugar until the sugar has dissolved.  Slowly add the oil in a stream, whisking to emulsify.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To make the salad: In a large salad bowl toss together the lettuce blend, strawberries, grapes, almond slices, and crumbled blue cheese. Add the dressing to taste and gently toss.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 6 appetizer or side salads.

Variation: Mix and match this colorful salad using your favorite ingredients.  Try substituting spinach or dried cranberries. Goat cheese is also a nice substitute for the blue cheese.

Do-Ahead: The dressing can be made up to two days in advance. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.
 

Printed with permission from The Southern Pantry Cookbook by Jennifer Chandler.