Our lawns are lush, our gardens are already going gangbusters, and we’ve been topping 80 degrees for over a week. (I just got back from Spain, where it was even hotter — it was more like 95 in Córdoba. Thank goodness for refreshingly cool Moorish courtyards! The ones with flowers and fountains give new meaning to the word “oasis.”) It’s safe to say it’s summer…
…and nothing says summer like strawberries. This throw-together salad also features fresh mint (another hot-weather favorite) and some salty sheep’s-milk feta to provide contrast and make those berries all the more sweet. I opted to drizzle on a bit of unrefined walnut oil to add a nutty dimension, but you could go with a splash of extra-virgin olive oil instead. Or any of several unrefined nut or seed oils: hazelnut, almond, pistachio, pumpkin seed, sesame seed, etc. The only one I wouldn’t use is peanut — peanut oil is so incredibly peanutty that it would override the strawberries.
If you don’t happen to have strawberries on hand, blueberries or any kind of melon would work just as well. Or mix and match — the more colors, the merrier!
Summery Strawberries with Feta & Mint
Serves as many as you want — see proportioning notes in the body of the recipe.
Organic strawberries, sliced (seeing as strawberries are one of the most sprayed crops in the US and you’re eating the entire fruit, it’s worth it to opt for organic strawberries)
Sheep’s- or goat’s-milk feta, chopped/crumbled (this is typically far more flavorful than domestic cow’s-milk feta)
Fresh mint, cut into thin ribbons
Drizzle of balsamic vinegar
Drizzle of unrefined walnut oil OR extra-virgin olive oil OR any unrefined nut or seed oil except peanut
Freshly cracked black pepper
Toss all ingredients together in a bowl. If you’re a huge feta fan — I am! — be generous with the feta; if you’re not so keen on it, opt for a slight garnishing of feta. In terms of proportioning the dressing, go with twice as much nut oil as balsamic. You won’t need much of either since both are so flavorful, so start with a quick drizzle of balsamic and two quick drizzles of oil and taste before adding any more. A little mint goes a long way, too, so toss and taste before adding more than 3 or 4 leaves.
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