summer has arrived a bit early here in new england - with a pleasantly warmer than normal spring all of our early summer crops are showing up sooner than expected at local farm stands. during one of my weekly visits to picnic rock farms last week, just before closing time Ginny handed me the last pint of native strawberries - the very first of the season! awesome. the spinach had just been planted in the fields, her husband, Lauchie - the biggest sweetheart ever kindly cut me a bag full of spinach greens. i of course couldn't leave without a bunch of their asparagus also grown on the farm. i left with the makings of the best spring salad ever. a salad inspired by my fried Caitlin over at the vegan chickpea.
simple is the theme during summers.
easy. local flavor. filling.
as long as my meals hit on those three things during the summer i am one happy girl.
native strawberries are hulled and quartered, asparagus is trimmed and the baby spinach is washed.
add a little lemon, salt, balsamic and olive oil for a truly satisfying summer salad.
summer = heat which equals a sometimes cranky Justin who has to work long days outside- he likes to come home to an ice box house. which i completely understand. so that means being creative on the grille - everyone loves to grille in the summer right?
the asparagus. drizzled with balsamic, olive oil & sprinkled with maldon salt is grilled until crisp tender.
a simple vinaigrette of lemon, olive oil, balsamic, muddled strawberries & poppy seeds dress the salad
leftovers came home with me and were enjoyed the following day for dinner. taking Caitlin's cue, i topped my leftover salad with a healthy serving of avocado. OMG - amazing, i was speechless. the avocado was so good and added a nice serving of healthy fats.
Spring Spinach Salad
6 small servings or 3 large servings
you will need:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp maldon salt
12 asparagus spears - trimmed of woody ends
2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
4 cups baby/young spinach thoroughly washed
3 parts olive oil
1 part balsamic
(i did 3 counts of oo & 1 count balsamic)
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp poppy seeds
pinch of salt
4 hulled and muddled strawberries
pinch of sugar or 1/4 tsp agave
place a piece of tin foil large enough to comfortably fit asparagus on the grille
place trimmed asparagus spears on the tinfoil & drizzle with olive oil, balsamic & salt - turning spears to coat
over medium heat ( about 350* -400*) cook asparagus for 10 minutes, turning frequently until done to your liking - i personally like crisp tender with bits of grill mark/caramelized
remove asparagus to from grille, cut each spear into 1 - inch pieces
on a serving platter, arrange spinach. top with quartered & hulled strawberries and asparagus pieces.
to make the dressing
in a small bowl muddle the strawberries. add remaining ingredients and whisk until well combined. taste and adjust salt/sugar to your liking. you will want the dressing to be a bit on the acidic side which will compliment the already naturally sweetened salad.
drizzle salad with dressing.
additional serving options: sliced or cubed avocado, almonds or pecans