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Heirloom Lettuce Salad with Strawberries, Walnuts, and Goat Cheese

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This is the first recipe I’m making from The Earthbound Cook, in part because it’s simple and in part because I happened to have most of the ingredients for this one in my fridge. It’s strawberry season and just hot enough outside to make me crave these flavors. I did have to pick up some walnut oil, strawberries and mixed baby greens (no heirloom lettuces available at the closest market and mixed baby greens are a perfectly acceptable substitute. Iceberg lettuce is not!).

What you need for four servings:
1 pint fresh strawberries, rinsed, dried and hulled
Walnut Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe to follow)
7 ounces heirloom lettuce leaves, left whole or 5 ounces of mixed baby greens, rinsed and dried if not prewashed 
1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted (see note below)
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (2 oz)

Make vinaigrette first.

Walnut Balsamic Vinaigrette (makes about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons of toasted walnut oil
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine vinegar, mustard and both oils in a glass jar and seal the lid tightly. Shake the jar vigorously to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (Can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 1 month. Let return to room temperature and shake vigorously before using.)

Now, back to the salad.

Cut strawberries into quarters, place them in a small bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette. Set aside.

Place all of the lettuce leaves in a large bowl and add three tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Toss to lightly coat the leaves; then taste and add more vinaigrette if needed.

Transfer lettuce to individual salad plates. Top lettuce with strawberries, walnuts and crumbled goat cheese. Serve immediately.

Note on toasting walnuts: 
Toasting brings out the flavor and aroma of nuts and seeds, making them crisp and crunchy. Be sure to watch the nuts closely as you toast them, they can burn easily. Use whole or larger pieces to reduce the risk of burning.

Use the center rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Spread nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for five minutes and stir (rimmed baking sheet is best, so as to stir and not spill). Roast another 2 to 5 minutes until all nuts are warm to the touch, lightly colored and fragrant.

Granola Girl Notes:
This salad tastes like summer. I love it and will likely make it often. Sweet strawberries, tart vinegar, and rich warm walnuts blend wonderfully in a very simple, easy to prepare salad. With fresh berries and the walnuts, as well as the greens, this is a highly nutritious meal that is ridiculously easy to make.

I used organic lettuce and strawberries. I try to use organic produce if I am not peeling off the skin.

Next time I will have photos, but this time I didn’t think of taking any until the bowl was empty! This photo is from the book. 


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