I had a salad similar to this one in a restaurant once. I’m not a big believer in ordering salads in restaurants. Who wants to pay fifteen bucks for a plate of lettuce? When I go to a restaurant I like the chefs to work their magic on me, provide me with a meal I wouldn’t–or couldn’t–make at home. But when I spied this salad on the menu at a local eatery one hot summer’s day it sounded exactly like what I wanted without knowing it, and I have been making it ever since.
Because of the strawberries and sugared pecans, the salad has a sweet taste. I think a lemon poppy seed dressing goes well without overpowering the flavors. A balsamic dressing would also work nicely, complementing the tanginess of the strawberries. I like fig goat cheese in this but plain goat cheese may be more accessible and also tastes great in this salad.
Spinach & Strawberry Salad with Lemon Poppy seed Dressing
1/4 cup pecan pieces
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon honey Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cups baby spinach
1 cup sliced strawberries
1/4 cup goat cheese, fig or regular
1) Set pecans, sugar, and water in a saucepan on medium heat. Simmer for about five minutes, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves and pecans are golden. Spread out on a piece of parchment paper and cool completely.
2) Whisk the lemon, Dijon, salt, and honey together in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil. Toss the spinach with the dressing and divide between 4 plates. Garnish with cheese and strawberries. Serve immediately.