As I write this, great sheets of rain are pouring down outside, our fireplace is going full blast, and I’m making an immense mug of tea. It seems an odd time to be thinking of light, fruit-based dishes like this one. Strawberries, in particular, seem to be the heart of summer.
However, it happened that when I went to the grocery store, I was thinking about salad. Well, about roast chicken and salad. Specifically, about how boring this salad would be, because I always do roast chicken with a big salad. I was also thinking how very, very tired I am of the same old tomato salad, and what on earth could I do instead?
While I was standing there in the produce department, I noticed a stack of strawberries. The combination of the crisp, meaty smell of roasted chicken in my basket and the sweet perfume from the berries reminded me of a lovely meal I’d had at a restaurant ages ago. The salad was fantastic, with strawberries, blackened chicken, corn, black beans — I don’t remember anything else about that evening, but that salad was perfection.
Thus inspired, I picked up the berries, some balsamic vinegar, and dashed home to try to make something like it. In the end, this salad was more like a cousin than a twin, but it added a twist to the routine, the kids happily gobbled it up, and it was lovely having a little bit of summer in the middle of my autumn.
- 1 head romaine lettuce, cut in a chiffonade
- 10-15 sorrel leaves, cut in a chiffonade
- 2 tablespoons mild fresh herbs, such as salad burnet or parsley
- 1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 1 cucumber, sliced into half rounds
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In a large bowl, combine romaine, sorrel, herbs, berries and cucumber slices. Toss gently with salad tongs.
- In a separate bowl, combine olive oil and vinegar, stirring vigorously. Drizzle the mixture over the salad.
- Grind salt and black pepper over the salad to taste. Toss salad again; serve immediately.