I love strawberries.
When ripened by an early summer sun and freshly picked from the patch in my backyard or purchased from a near-by farm stand, they are supremely delicious. My family and I eat them by the bucketful on an almost daily basis in May and June – sliced in a bowl with a bit of sugar and whipped cream, piled on vanilla ice cream, mixed in cereal, crushed between shortcakes, or simply eaten straight out of the box. (Now my mouth is watering.)
Even when they aren’t in season, I’m not above buying and eating strawberries grown in faraway places like Florida and California. (Target, of all places, has quality berries for the best price around.) While not quite as sublime as the homegrown, in-season berries I prefer, they are usually good enough to quell the symptoms of withdrawal that pop up during those long empty months without the homegrown variety.
A few years ago, my sister-in-law, Rebecca, brought a strawberry and spinach salad to our family Easter dinner that transported me to a whole new level of strawberry enjoyment. With its juxtaposition of deep red berries and dark green leaves, it was as satisfying to look at as it was to eat. The humble dressing gently magnified the sweet-tartness of the strawberries. And the nutritional punch of the spinach alone was enough to cancel out the sugar load in the dressing and inject the eater (namely, me) with a small dose of self-righteousness.
On that spring afternoon, I fell in love. With strawberry and spinach salad.
Rebecca was gracious enough to share her recipe with me. And now I’m sharing it here, with you. It is such a quick and simple dish, and yet, every time I toss it together and serve it up, people rave and compliment – as if I really had anything to do with the perfection they are seeing and tasting. In this case, the ingredients do all the work. My only job is to help them find each other.
See what I mean? It’s gorgeous.
Go ahead. Give it a try…..
Strawberry and Spinach Salad (from Rebecca, my sister-in-law)
1 bag of spinach
1 quart of strawberries, washed and sliced but NOT sweetened
1/2 cup oil (I use canola)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon minced onion
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (not necessary but desirable)
Combine spinach and strawberries. Mix the dressing together and pour over the salad. Enjoy!
Note: I only make half a recipe of the dressing. For me, that is just that right amount of zingy liquid for this salad. It’s a personal preference – I don’t like my greens to be swimming in dressing.