Monday, May 03, 2010

Strawberry Spinach Salad - A Taste of Spring

First course on Friday night is nearly always soup (and we all know the story why!). Shabbat lunch first courses run the gamut from meatballs to puff pastry things, or pasta, but when the weather warms up, I like to start the meal with a salad - gives people a few minutes to relax into the meal, but isn't overly filling.

This past shabbat I tried a new recipe - the seeds in the dressing, along with the toasted almonds gave a lovely crunch and the strawberries in the dressing had a tart, sweet, tangy flavor that woke up palates! Don't even bother to use a "fancier" vinegar - it will get lost!

Strawberry Spinach Salad

2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablepoons grated shallot (use a microplane grater)

1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds - toasted
10 ounces baby spinach
12 ounces fresh strawberries, sliced

One day ahead of serving, put all dressing ingredients in cruet and shake well. Set aside to blend.

Immediately before serving, mix spinach, strawberries and almonds - shake dressing well, coat and toss!

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