This is a fabulous salad...aromatic, light and bursting with a variety of flavors in every bite. The pecans are lightly toasted and taste delicious covered in the vinaigrette. The recipe also recommends using other berries in place of the strawberries...I can't wait for summer to use fresh picked raspberries.
In the photo above, I didn't wait to strain the strawberry vinegar and it still tasted great. However, next time I will strain it just so it is a little smoother.
I always serve dressing on the side of salads to please individual tastes on quantity. I personally like to taste my salad over the dressing so I am a dipper.
Spinach Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette
Adapted from Gourmet, July 2007
For the Salad
2 1/2 tablespoons Strawberry Vinegar (Recipe Follows)
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 oz baby spinach (8 cups)
1/2 lb strawberries, cut lengthwise into thick slices (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup pecan halves (3 1/2 ounces), toasted and cooled
salt and pepper
For the Strawberry Vinegar
Makes about 2 cups
1 lb strawberries, trimmed (3 cups)
2 tablespoons sugar if berries are not sweet
2 cups white balsamic vinegar
Make the Strawberry Vinegar:
Pulse berries with sugar in a food processor until finely chopped and very juicy. Transfer to a bowl and add vinegar. Let stand 1 hour. Strain vinegar through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding solids.
Toast the Pecans:
Place pecans in a shallow baking pan in a 350°F oven until golden, 5 to 15 minutes.
Assemble the Salad:
Whisk together strawberry vinegar, a rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking well. Put spinach, strawberries, and pecans in a large bowl and toss with just enough vinaigrette to lightly coat.
Strawberry Vinegar keeps for 1 week if covered and chilled in fridge.