A Strawberry, Hazelnut, Goat Cheese Salad Drizzled with a Bit of Balsamic Vinaigrette

A Strawberry, Hazelnut, and Goat Cheese Salad Drizzled with a Bit of Balsamic Vinaigrette

I have been reading about pairing sweet, luscious strawberries with piquant balsamic vinegar for quite sometime now and I thought it would be fun to try them out in a salad together. Sprinkle on some tangy goat cheese and nutty hazelnuts and you've got a salad fit for a Queen....or at least fit to keep you seated long enough to ponder on the intricacies of sibling rivalry and what to do about it.

I also show in the the photos above a clay ramekin from the talented guys & gals over at Olympic Provisions. Last weekend at the Farmer Market, they had kindly given me a ramekin of their homemade rillette to try on the baguette I was carrying around in my bag. I had never, knowingly, tried rillette. If you're curious to learn more, here's a wonderful post by the über-talented Matt Wright describing how to make and how to eat pork rillette. Once I figured out that I should bring it to room temperature and mix it all together (as opposed to just scraping the cold fat off the top), I discovered a luscious, rich meaty spread, perfect on a little piece of bread. Thank you, Olympic Provisions!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp shallot, minced (optional)
  • pinch o' salt
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • couple handfuls of baby greens
  • 1/2 cup or so of sliced strawberries
  • a sprinkling of crumbled goat cheese (feta might be good too.)
  • a sprinkling of roasted hazelnuts (or walnuts, almonds, whatever nuts you have on hand and I don't mean your children)
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Combine your vinegar and shallots, if you're using shallots, in a small bowl and let rest for 5-10 minutes. If not using the shallots you can skip the "resting" part.

Add your salt and whisk together. Then slowly, while whisking, drizzle in your olive oil.

Place your baby greens on a plate. Top with the strawberries, the goat cheese and the nuts. Drizzle on the balsamic vinaigrette to your liking. Add a few cracks of black pepper and...voila!

A couple slices of bread with rillette (or butter...or just plain), a glass of sparkling water and with each mouthful of your delicious salad you'll be able to feel summer drawing near. I realize that that is near impossible for those of us in Portland seeing as we haven't even had a spring but, nonetheless, I suggest giving it a try. Enjoy....
 

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