Sunday, June 6, 2010

Spinach-Strawberry-Pine Nut Salad w/ Berry Balsamic Dressing

As soon as my husband took a bite of this salad tonight, he said,"Wow.That's a great salad!" I had to agree! Just in time for summer, this salad is both beautiful to look at and truly delicious. Sweet, savory, toasty... The dressing is based on a Dark Cherry Balsamic Dressing I love at Nordstroms, with a few "Becky" twists.

Salad for 2 - 3

3 cups fresh spinach
6 large strawberries, sliced
Asiago or Parmesan cheese - a few thin slices, peeled with a cheese slicer or potato peeler
(Also delicious with goat cheese, feta or blue cheese)

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds (or a combination) Walnuts or pecans would also work great!

Lightly toss above with a sprinkle of sea salt

Then top with a drizzle of the following dressing. Now this recipe makes a nice batch of dressing, you can put in a jar and use again. It's one of the most delicious I've ever had. The balsamic is not too strong or vinegary because you reduce it first with sugar. Oh my goodness. Yum.

Berry Balsamic Dressing

½ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 cloves garlic roasted and minced or minced then quickly sauteed in a bit of oil
½ cup berry preserves (whatever you have on hand, whatever you like)
1/4 c dried berries (any kind, I used cranberries)
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 cup canola oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the balsamic vinegar and sugar to a simmer, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Simmer the mixture, uncovered, until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. It should look like thick syrup, close to molasses. Add the roasted or sauteed garlic and berry preserves and cook until preserves melt. Remove from the heat and let cool. When room temperature, whisk in the red wine vinegar and then the canola oil (pour in a ribbon as you whisk like crazy.) Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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