One of my all time favorite things to do in the spring is to pick strawberries.  I'm sure some of you are aware by now that at least once a week since the season started, I have headed over to the farm to pick as many strawberries as I could carry.  However, this week I decided to invite my friend and health coach, Irina Kachalenko.  I made arrangement for the boys to be with their grandparents because I exhausted their strawberry picking patience in the field last week.  Of course when you make plans to see a friend you don't normally get to see, the weather insists on not cooperating.  But the pouring rain and chill in the air could not deter us from those little red berries.  Have you ever noticed how the rain makes the world feel and smell so clean and refreshing.  Who knew that a rainy day in the middle of a strawberry field would be so peaceful and relaxing (it could also be due to the lack of children around my legs).
    You could definitely say that strawberries are a big topic for food bloggers lately, as well they should be because, 'tis the season (for some of us).  There is definitely not a lack of beautiful strawberry salad recipes on the blogosphere.  For example, just take a look at this one or this one.  I was almost reconsidering posting this recipe because do we really need another strawberry salad recipe?  Actually, yes we do!  My little contribution to the strawberry salad line up, is that in this recipe I roast the strawberries in balsamic vinegar and lemon juice.  By doing that you are not only preparing the roasted strawberries for the salad, but you are also making a dressing at the same time. 

Balsamic Roasted Strawberry Salad

Serves 2

1 pint of strawberries, washed, hulled and cut in half
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Juice from 1/2 a lemon

Pinch of salt
Several handfuls of peppery greens
such as watercress, arugula, mustard or nasturtium
3-4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup of hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Micro greens for garnish (Always garnish a salad with micro greens)

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Wash, hull and cut the strawberries in half.  Lay them in a baking dish in a single layer.  Drizzle the balsamic vinegar and the juice from one lemon over the strawberries and sprinkle a pinch of salt over everything.  Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the juice is bubbly and the strawberries are soft.  While the strawberries are baking, toast and chop the hazelnuts and set them aside.  Wash and dry your greens and arrange them on a plate or in a bowl.  Divide the goat cheese and toasted hazelnuts and add them to each serving.  When the strawberries are done baking spoon several strawberry halves onto each salad and drizzle the juices they were baking in over the top.  Drizzle on some extra virgin olive oil.  Serve warm or cold.

NOTE:  If you have any leftover roasted strawberries save them for later and you can use them as a topping for some vanilla ice cream.  Or you could even add them to yogurt or cottage cheese for breakfast.

“No friendship is an accident. ” - O. Henry, Heart of the West



05/31/2013 5:52pm

Oh, oh, oh, love the friendship quote -- and it's so very true! (well, I mean, that's my belief as well; nothing is an accident). I resisted the desire to gush about your photos first which are simply glorious. I love the combination of strawberries and balsamic vinegar but have not actually roasted the berries in balsamic, so I have to give that a try! (I might wait till the sun goes down though -- It's hot!! :O) - xo.

05/31/2013 6:20pm

Isn't that a great quote. I definitely feel that way with my friend Irina. She has been there for me so many times when I needed support and she is so awesome at her job.

Definitely give the roasted strawberries a try once those berries catch up to you all the way up there!!!

05/31/2013 6:04pm

Oh Sandra! Thanks for the little shout out ;)
What a wonderful way to use your beautiful roasted strawberries- I'm afraid we're a lot alike. I too would sweat it out over the stove in 95 degree weather just to make something this. I'm about ready to make vats and vats of strawberry jam... You just can't beat in season strawberries. And, might I add, you are very smart to leave your kids with your grandparents. I brought mine to the strawberry fields and my 2 year old trampled everything. I had to leave :( Thanks for sharing this wonderful creation. I hope you have a lovely weekend! xo

05/31/2013 6:35pm

Isn't it cool how we seem to find strong connections with people very similar to ourselves. Hope you too have a great weekend :)

And let us know how that jam comes out ;)

05/31/2013 6:30pm

I'm jealous... I haven't gotten to pick strawberries even once so far this year. I have to get my behind in gear over here. And once I finally do, this salad is on my short list of things to make. I've never roasted strawberries before, but now I wonder why the heck not?!

05/31/2013 6:53pm

Christopher Cockren you get your butt out there and get some strawberries....Woah...did that sound a little too motherly...I can't seem to help myself anymore.

06/04/2013 5:20pm

My mom just uses my first and middle name. Christopher Ryan is more like it.

And I know, this is getting ridiculous. Every time I turn around and check your facebook page, you're out getting more strawberries! I need some strawberries!!! There is an organic farm not too far that I can hopefully get to within the next week or so. But I am excited that the organic CSA I joined this year starts TODAY! I'm ready for a mountain of what I will assume will be lettuce, lettuce, and more lettuce.

06/04/2013 6:05pm

You definitely have to take pictures of what you get in your CSA every so often. I'm curious because I am always back and forth with signing up for one.

Irina Kachalenko
05/31/2013 9:14pm

LOVING this post! There are so many ways to use these... thanks for the food-spritations! Keep 'em coming :)

Irina Kachalenko
05/31/2013 9:16pm

lol - foodSPIRATIONS!

05/31/2013 9:20pm that term!!! XOXOXO

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