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Last Hurrah Strawberry and Arugula Salad (plus, balsamic reduction technique)

Posted on: September 10, 2010

Up here, it’s nearing the end of strawberry season, and there are just a few more good batches to be had. Early last summer, I tweaked a few recipes and came up with this simple salad to celebrate the end of summer, or to enjoy anytime strawberries are good. The sweetness of the strawberries and the balsamic vinegar are a lovely foil for the sharp saltiness of the parmesan.

Note: if you can’t invest in good-quality balsamic vinegar, try making reduced inexpensive balsamic. I buy the cheaper stuff from Trader Joe’s, put a generous cup of it in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, and turn up the heat to medium, reducing the volume. Et voila—thick, sweet, faux-“aged” balsamic! Of course, this produces fairly acidic fumes, so vent your kitchen and turn on a few fans! You can boil down your balsamic as syrupy as you’d like, but it’s going to be part of the salad dressing, so make sure it’s still pourable.

Strawberry and Arugula Salad
adapted by me and many others

sliced strawberries
shaved parmesan (not grated–important to have large chunks)
fresh ground pepper and sea salt
good-quality balsamic vinegar or balsamic reduction
extra-virgin olive oil

1. On each salad plate, arrange a mound of arugula. The amount will vary, depending on the size of your plate (and therefore your serving).

2. Top the arugula with strawberries, and then arrange some parmesan shavings atop everything. You can be artsy, or messy… your choice!

3. Drizzle each salad with oil and vinegar. As all of the flavors in the salad are strong, I recommend starting with about 1 tsp each of oil and vinegar, adding more if you want. (Easier to add more than to take away!)

4. Season with fresh ground pepper and salt, if desired. Pepper is more important than salt, here, because the parmesan is already salty. Enjoy your salads soon, as the arugula tends to wilt when moist.

This is one of my favorite arugula dishes. I can’t believe I just discovered arugula last year! Anyone have any other arugula salads or dishes you love? I want more ideas!

2 Responses to "Last Hurrah Strawberry and Arugula Salad (plus, balsamic reduction technique)"

yum! this is one of my favorite salads ever. i love the combination of strawberries and balsamic! so lovely. also great spooned over ice cream or creme fraiche 😉

Years ago, someone told me to cook/saute the strawberries in the balsamic. The texture was UGH! :p I never went back, because I couldn’t get beyond the horrible texture to the fantastic flavor.

Then I had this salad last year. Much better with firm berries!

(You do know that Molly Moon’s makes Strawberry Balsamic ice cream, right? I don’t remember if I tried it when I was there…)

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