When my sister and I were kids, the Easter Bunny used to hide those little foil-wrapped eggs around our house. Because they were so tiny, we had to look carefully from different angles, hoping to spot that flash of color that would make our hearts jump. My dad somehow knew where every single egg was hidden, and when we were certain we’d located them all, he’d surprise us by letting us know exactly how many were left. He would then coach us with “hot” and “cold” clues until the very last one was discovered.
Picking strawberries is very similar to hunting for those long-ago eggs. I always make a few passes through the strawberry patch, first snagging the easily seen ones. Next, I hunker down at a lower angle, coming back the other way to find ones I might have missed. Finally, I brush aside the greenery to uncover the sneaky ones that are hiding deep down. I leave the ones that have the tell-tale bite marks from my own little garden bunny and her baby–I don’t mind sharing. But I do wish that someone would let me know how many more perfect ripe ones are still left hidden, and guide me to them with “hot” and “cold” clues! Dad!?
Here is a spectacular salad that we have been making with those perfect strawberries for about three years now. It is beautiful to look at, and the sweet tartness of the strawberries and dressing are complemented by the salty feta and the crunchy almonds. It is an easy and elegant dish to take when a “dish to pass” is required. However, I need to invest in a nice cruet for my dressing, since storing it in random jars can be messy.
STRAWBERRY SPINACH SALAD WITH SESAME POPPY-SEED DRESSING
• 1 bag of spinach leaves or the equivalent of freshly picked spinach, torn into bite-sized pieces
• 4 cups sliced strawberries
• Sliced or slivered almonds to taste
• Feta cheese to taste
• 1/2 cup vegetable or olive oil
• 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
• 1/4 cup white sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon paprika
• 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
• 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1. In a large bowl, toss together the spinach, strawberries, almonds and feta cheese.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, sugar, paprika, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds. Spoon over individual servings, and toss to coat. Store in a covered container, shaking well before using again.
Makes approx. 8-10 servings