With maple candied walnuts and creamy goat cheese balsamic dressing.
For some reason, this spring I’ve been craving the fresh new foods that come with the changing season, much more than I normally do. The strawberries in my yard are nowhere near making fruit yet, but a few weeks ago, the strawberries in the market were suddenly glorious. A strawberry out of season tastes Ok, but when they’re actually ready, ripe and fully red, full of sweet juice that seems composed of the very flavor of renewal and new growth, they are magical things to eat. I was immediately obsessed. Another good thing about food in season is that it’s bountiful, and therefore on sale, and I pretty much stuffed as many fresh ripe organic strawberries into my gullet as possible. I also came up with this recipe, the first one in a while that I’ve invented without looking anything up or searching for ideas. So:
For the salad:
Lightly shred about a handful of lettuce (I like red leaf or butter lettuce) per person.
Add 1 small or 1/2 large grated carrot per person.
Add grated radish, about half as much as the carrot.
Add sliced strawberries, as many as you like, I suggest a lot.
Put about 4 Tablespoons of plain fresh goat cheese in a jar.
Add heavy cream up to about the top of the cheese.
Add 1 Tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar.
Add a pinch of salt, and stir together (a small whisk is great for this).
Add a little water, stir, and add a little more, until the dressing reaches the consistency you’d like. Taste and adjust seasonings.
This makes a fair amount of dressing, enough for about 6 people to have salad, and maybe find some other things to spread it on.
For the walnuts:
Lightly crush 1 cup of walnuts (I just do this with my hands).
In a skillet, melt about 1 Tablespoon butter over medium heat.
Add two teaspoons of maple syrup, one teaspoon of brown sugar, and a large pinch of salt. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, and then add the walnuts. Stir until most of the coating is on the nuts rather than the skillet. Let cool.
If you run out of time, this is also good with un-candied walnuts or pecans, although these lightly candied ones add a really nice touch.
Sprinkle the nuts on top of the salad, and let each person add the creamy dressing as it’s served.
Now, if only I can find some fresh peas …