Thursday, January 31, 2013

Simply Scrumptious Strawberry Salad

Strawberry salad is so refreshingly delicious I am surprised that only a few restaurants around Bahrain offer it.  Cafe Lilou offered it in their Christmas menu recently and I loved it. Coco's also offer it and again, it is extremely tasty.

I was invited to a barbeque last night and wanted to whip up something different and quick.  I had some strawberries in my fridge and with their ridiculous short shelf-life I figured let me use them before they go bad.  And boy was that a delectable decision!

The recipe is my own and was inspired by so many salads I have tasted - caramelized almonds, tangy dressing, salty grilled halloumi....sigh.

Making this Simply Scrumptious Strawberry Salad is so easy and the compliments will be nonstop.




You will need:
One block of halloumi cheese - any brand will do, I go for the lite version
5 bunches of spinach or 2 packets of baby spinach
One cup of slivered almonds
1/4 cup of white sugar
About 10 fresh strawberries
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and pepper

1. Make sure your spinach is washed, stems removed, and dried really well.  Spinach leaves wilt so easily and the last thing you want is to have wilted spinach salad.  I use a salad spinner and find that leaves are crisp and dry.  If using baby spinach, there is no need to chop it.  For regular spinach either tear by hand or chop in thirds - chunky is good.

2. Strawberries should be quickly soaked in water and dried individually by paper towels.  Strawberries have porous skin and water can seep through turning them into soggy strawberries. Cut off the tip of each strawberry, turn it so it lays flat on your cutting board, and slice it in medium slices.
  
3. Slice the cheese in medium slices. Grill the halloumi on both sides, either on a grill or quick fry in a frying pan sprayed with oil.  Keep your eyes on the cheese as it browns very quickly. Once brown on both sides remove quickly and cool on some kitchen paper towels.  Chop each slice in 4 or 6 pieces, depending on the size of your strawberries
Note: to ensure a pretty salad, try to cut your vegetables/fruits in similar sizes.

4. Line a baking sheet with some parchment paper.  

5. In a separate pan,  dry fry the almonds and sugar and keep stirring until the sugar melts and starts to caramelize while making sure you coat all the nuts evenly.  Remove quickly from the heat and immediately spread on the prepared baking sheet. Allow to cool completely.  Once cooled, crumble the larger pieces.

6. Assemble the salad in a large shallow bowl.  Lay the spinach first, top with strawberries, and line with cheese and caramelized nuts.

For the dressing: 
Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey and salt and pepper in a clean jar.  Secure lid and shake it like there's no tomorrow.  Make sure you end up with a thick sauce that does not separate.  Taste it and if you find it too bland add vinegar, too sour add oil....etc.

Drizzle on the dressing before serving.

This salad stocks up some serious benefits: calcium from cheese, iron from spinach, vitamin C from vitamins, and overall yummy factor of 10 out of 10.

Make this now. 


Notes:
- You can add avocados if you feel this salad needs more ingredients.
- Almonds can be easily replaced with pecans or walnuts.
- Halloumi cheese can be replaced with Feta or even Blue Cheese.
- Spinach can be replaced with Roca leaves.
- To wash off caramel remains in your pan, just soak the pan in water overnight and it will wash off easily the next day.


4 comments:

  1. Mmm mmm mmmmmmm it looks so yuummyyy.. will definitely try it.. thanks Z

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  3. Looks so delicious ! Will def try it :D
    Thanks ZZ

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  4. oh my GOD!!! i tried this yesterday (MADE BY ZAIN) and it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G ! The combination of strawberries, caremalized almonds and rocca is delicious especially with that to-die-for dressing! seriously mouthwatering!

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