A wander through one of my favorite markets last week inspired this salad. The peppery arugula offset by fragrant strawberries with the crunch from toasted hazelnuts was such a winning combination, I just had to share. Plus, it’s uncommonly pretty. I made it again the next day, and then a few days after that.
This is the sort of salad that relies heavily on high quality ingredients; there is no creamy buttermilk dressing or smoky bacon bits to hide behind. To do this one right, it’s worth making a trip to the cheese monger for good feta cheese, and getting your hands on strawberries that really taste like strawberries. An aged balsamic vinegar makes an impact here, as well as fleur de sel, which is a flaked salt available in specialty markets. It’s a little pricey but will last a good while, and does wonders crumbled over salads and cooked vegetables at the finish.
As for kids and arugula, it’s worth a try. As I’ve said before, it’s been a surprising hit in my house. You could mix in another lettuce such as butter or little gems to offset the assertive taste of the greens.
Arugula and strawberries in combination make quite an impact on the nutrition end of things. Arugula is rich in folate, vitamin c, as well as calcium and iron. And ounce per ounce, strawberries offer more vitamin C than citrus fruits.
Accompany the salad with a piece of grilled fish or chicken and dinner is good to go.
Spring Arugula and Strawberry Salad
• 4 handfuls arugula, washed and dried
• 8 medium strawberries, stemmed and sliced
• 2 tablespoons toasted, chopped hazelnuts
• 1 ounce crumbled feta
• Aged balsamic vinegar
• Extra-virgin olive oil
• Salt, preferably fleur de sel
Put the arugula in a shallow bowl or serving patter. Distribute the sliced strawberries over the arugula, followed by the hazelnuts and feta. Sprinkle balsamic vinegar over the salad and drizzle with olive oil. Finish with a pinch of salt.
Makes 4 servings