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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Strawberry Spinach Salad

1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
2-3 tablespoons sugar
Baby spinach
Strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil 
Freshly ground black pepper

Melt sugar in a small (cast iron works best) skillet over a low heat until sugar is completely dissolved (no longer gritty).  Watch carefully; it has a tendency to burn and if that happens you'll have to start over.  Drizzle melted sugar over walnuts (or if you're impatient like me simply dump the walnuts into the sugar and stir around until coated) .  Let cool and break walnuts apart.

Heat balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan (or the skillet you melted sugar in).  Add a teaspoon or so of sugar if using a different pan (you want the dressing to be slightly sweet-sometimes you can find good balsamic that doesn't need to be sweetened).  Let mixture cool and whisk in olive oil.  Add a dash of garlic powder if you like. 

Toss spinach and strawberries with the dressing and top with the sugared walnuts.  Season with freshly ground black pepper.  Feta cheese or sliced avocado is a nice addition to this.

Sometimes I use the oil from making garlic confit in the dressing.  It adds a nice nuttiness to the flavor.

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