Strawberry and Shallot Spring Salad

When I make a salad for a meal, even a lunch salad, I want there to be enough substance that I feel full after. I love this salad because it is light and “springy”, but has some components to bulk it up. Fresh mixed greens are topped with raw white mushroom slices, light and sweet strawberries, and crunchy almonds for a little bit of healthy protein. My favorite though, are the crispy shallots. Just a few minutes of effort turns this salad from standard to special. Shallots give an onion-like taste  without overwhelming the palate. The shallot vinaigrette is more savory than sweet; I think it highlights the seasonality of the strawberries and emphasizes their sweetness rather than masking their flavor. 

Makes: 4 entree salads or 6 side salads
Prep Time: 25 minutes

1 large box (11 oz) mixed greens
1- 8 oz container of white mushrooms (already sliced if you prefer)
12 medium strawberries, stems removed and sliced vertically
1/2 cup bleu cheese crumbles
1/2 cup whole almonds, roughly chopped and toasted
2 tbs all-purpose flour
1 large shallot, separated

For Dressing:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tbs orange juice
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

  • Divide the shallot into its smaller bulbs (normally there are three). Thinly slice the largest two bulbs horizontally, so that the oval shape remains intact. These will be used for the crispy shallots. Mince the smallest bulb; this will be used for the dressing.
  • Whisk the minced shallot, orange juice, vinegar, and mustard in a small bowl. Drizzle in the oil while whisking to create an emulsion. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep in the refrigerator until serving.
  • For the crispy shallots, put the flour and shallots into a bowl. Toss together with your hands or a fork so that all of the sides are dredged in flour.
  • Heat a saute pan over medium heat with 2 tbs of olive oil. When the oil is hot, shake off the excess flour on the shallots and add them to the pan. You can test the oil with a small piece of shallot before adding them all if you aren’t sure it’s hot enough. Don’t stir the shallot in the pan. Cook until light brown, or 3-4 minutes. Remove immediately from the pan onto paper towel with a slotted spoon or spatula. Set aside.
  • To serve the salad, toss the mixed greens with half of the dressing. Arrange on individual plates or in a large serving bowl.
  • Assemble the salad by topping with the mushrooms, strawberries, almonds, bleu cheese, and crispy shallots in that order. Drizzle the remaining dressing over top the salad to coat the toppings. Serve immediately.

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