Sunday, April 3, 2011

Seasonal Sunday--Strawberry & Spinach Salad

It's finally upon us. My favorite season for fresh produce.

Here in the South of France and nearby Spain the strawberries are ripening.

At the grocery store on Friday there were two older women--perfectly coiffed and smelling sweetly of French lady. I watched them take a marked interest in the strawberries from Spain, looking them over before settling on the variety grown here in the nearby village of Mauguio. They are called Gariguettes.
They scooped up a small plastic tray of these and left the Spanish ones behind. I bought both--the less expensive Spanish ones for the kids to inhale in five minutes and the more expensive neighborhood ones for today's salad.

After the strawberries my French ladies paused for a moment over the new crop of green asparagus, also from Mauguio. They touched it, said a few things to each other and tut, tutted their disapproval as they passed them over.
Presumably to wait until Mauguio harvests the really good stuff.
Probably next week.

I took their lead and left the asparagus for another time.
For today then, it's strawberries--les fraises Gariguettes.

{les fraises Gariguettes}
There are so many things to do with strawberries and when I can wrestle them away from my childrens' greedy fingers I like to make this salad. It is my sister's creation so I give all the credit for its creativity and deliciousness to her.

Strawberry & Spinach Salad

1/2 pint or 4 large strawberries
2 cups fresh young spinach leaves
1/2 cup whole almonds or pecans
1 tsp sugar

Balsamic Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or a nut oil if you like
1 tablespoon really good balsamic vinegar
dash of salt
coarse freshly ground black pepper

First, take your salad bowl and mix the dressing in the bottom of it.

Adding the oil slowly to the vinegar, whisking as you go until combined.
You may need more oil if you like it less tart but I prefer it this way.

Season with the salt and pepper. The freshly ground black pepper is great in this salad. The Romans always ate them together so I figure it's good for me too.

{strawberry and spinach salad}

Then it's just a matter of washing your spinach leaves and strawberries and toasting your nuts.

Mix almonds or pecans (ma soeur uses pecans but they're hard to find in France) with the sugar and then gently toast them in a hot, dry pan. Watch them carefully and shake them around to coat and keep from sticking.
My advice is to use pecans if you can.

Put the clean, dry spinach in your bowl, slice strawberries and add them in.

When you're ready to serve the salad top it with the nuts and then mix from the bottom to coat with the vinaigrette.
Don't do this until you're ready to eat it though because if you do the spinach and strawberries will get all soggy.

This is good with a grilled steak or roast chicken.

{pretty little salad}


  1. Yummy and healthy ;) If only the grocery store was open les dimanches!

  2. SImple, elegant, and delicious! Looks fab

  3. Strawberries don't last long in my house either, they are one of husband's favorites. But I might have to have to hide them long enough to make this salad. He loves strawberries, I love spinach... WIN! x

  4. YUM! French strawberries are the best -- completely unlike anything in the U.S. I'm so jealous. :)

  5. Oh, isn't is just awesome to have that fresh produce rolling in!! We had strawberries this weekend as well--the Geriguettes--and they were tasty.

    A warning: do not buy Spanish and Moroccan strawberries, (or other fruits and veggies for that matter) each strawberry is injected with red colorant, they are grown in a chemical mixture to be bigger faster, and they are sprayed with chemicals to keep insects off. Big scary chemicals that are forbidden in France! Christophe was just in Morocco last week and was given a tour of their facilities--very scary. Box of cancer, anyone?

    The good news is that his company was invited to Morocco as they wish to begin organic agriculture.

    Anyhow, your recipe sounds delish an I shall give it a whirl this week!


  6. Sounds delicious and looks very pretty too.

  7. We are having this tonite with our dinner :)

  8. Apparently the Maugio ones are the only ones you should buy. They do taste the best and my hubby's French colleague told him so :)


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