|Strawberry, goat's cheese and pine nut salad|
Now that we finally have a summer in the UK, I've been indulging in one of my favourite activities of the season - sticking fruit in salads.
Strawberries, cherries, peaches, nectarines - if it's in season, then in a salad it goes. If you balance ripe, sweet fruits with salty, savoury ingredients like cheese, include a bit of acidity in the dressing, and add plenty of green leaves, you can't really go wrong.
A few weeks ago, I was sent 11 - yes, 11 - punnets of fat and juicy Sweet Eve strawberries to try...
|Sweet Eve strawberries|
After blitzing a few punnets for future smoothies, making some mini cheesecakes (recipe to come), eating mounds of strawberries for breakfast with toasted almonds and sheep's yoghurt and palming a few boxes onto friends, I still had enough berries left over to make this delicious and simple salad. The salty soy and sharp balsamic vinegar in the dressing off-set the sweetness of the strawberries beautifully.
Strawberry, goat's cheese and pine nut salad with a strawberry, balsamic and soy dressing
Serves 2 or 4 for a starter
100g strawberries, sliced lengthways
50g baby leaf spinach
25g pine nuts
75g soft goat's cheese
1 x small handful basil, roughly torn
For the dressing:
50ml strawberry juice (bought or made by blitzing a couple of punnets of strawberries with a hand blender or in a food processor)
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
Toast the pine nuts in a small frying pan on a medium heat, with a little sea salt for a couple of minutes, until just turning golden. You don't need to use any oil for this. Keep a careful eye on the pine nuts as they can go from golden to burnt very quickly. Leave to cool.
Make the dressing by whisking together the strawberry juice, extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. Season with a tiny bit of sea salt and black pepper.
Divide the spinach leaves between the plates. Add the strawberries, then crumble over the goat's cheese. Sprinkle over the toasted pine nuts. Drizzle the dressing over the salads then garnish with the torn basil leaves.