Saturday, June 9, 2012

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

The Brookfield Farmer's Market opened the first Saturday of May and I have gone a couple of times this year...not as many times as I would have liked, but when you have a newborn in the house, things don't always go according to your plans.  The first couple times I went, there wasn't a whole lot available in terms of produce, and not all of the usual vendors were present.  It was just a little too early in the season, so it was mostly onions, radishes, rhubarb and some asparagus, along with a lot of potted plants and herbs (and of course, the tomato guy with a wide array of hydroponically grown deliciousness).

When I made my way to the market this morning, I was very pleased to see a lot more produce available than when I last went.  In addition to beautiful plants, I noticed lots of garlic, lettuces, swiss chard, purple and white onions, leeks, turnips, beets, kohlrabi and more.  I was ecstatic to see several vendors with strawberries, sugar snap peas and spinach, so I picked those up in addition to some bread from my favorite bakery, tomatoes (of course) and a mixture of lettuces.  I didn't go too crazy, but what I did buy was great.

Once I had all of the items in my bag, I couldn't get the thought of making a strawberry spinach salad out of my head.  Now, I know I am not the first person to make strawberry spinach salad, it is a classic.  It just hit the spot so much, I couldn't help but share.  The only "twist" I would say I made was to add a few sugar snap peas to the mix.  I popped the peas out of the pods and then snacked on the pods.  The peas were probably the sweetest I have ever tasted.  I think I'll go back next week and get double the amount.  There is a pea, mint and Parmesan crostini recipe from Bon Appetit that I have been dying to try.

Back to the salad.  Who can resist eating a salad that almost tastes like a dessert?  Vitamin rich spinach and sugar snap peas topped with sweet strawberries and a homemade poppy seed dressing, this salad just tastes like a summer treat.  My version is below, which goes great on a summer dinner table, or as a lunch with a little bit of grilled chicken (see my Balsamic Grilled Chicken post that will be coming up soon).  The recipe could serve two to four, depending on who's eating and whether it is a side or more of a main dish.  To be truthful, I can't claim the poppy dressing recipe as my own.  I had it on a romaine, pear and apple salad my cousin made, and she got the recipe from someone else, who probably got it from someone else and so on.   It was perfect on the spinach salad.

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing (printable recipe)

4 c. fresh spinach, cleaned and chopped
1 c. fresh strawberries, sliced
1/4 c. fresh sugar snap peas, shelled
1/4 c. sugar
1 T. poppy seeds
2 1/2 T. lemon juice (approx. 1 lemon)
1 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/3 c. vegetable oil

Combine spinach, strawberries and peas in a large bowl.  Combine remaining ingredients in a mason jar, put on the lid and shake it up.  Pour half the dressing over the salad and toss.  Save remaining dressing or add it the salad as you feel necessary.  I'm a less-is-more kind of person.  Enjoy!

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