This weekend I caved: I bought two pints of strawberries. They were on sale, two pints for five bucks, which was good. But they weren’t organic berries, which is not so good. The organic berries I inspected were too far gone to consider taking them home—they were moldy and collapsing into mush. I love strawberries too much not to eat them fresh when they are in season, so I’ll take my conventional, two-for-five berries.
Here is something that I decided I love about strawberries: they are fragile, so you have a good excuse to eat them quickly and greedily. With treats, it can be too easy to save them for something special—a reward, a special meal with a special person, an unusual dessert. To me, strawberries are pretty lovely on their own, and knowing that they are fragile and the mold will get them soon if I don’t has me reaching for those flimsy plastic containers more often than I might otherwise. All this strawberry-munching makes me feel celebratory, like Hurrah, spring! It feels more like summer down here, but still: hurrah, spring!
Yesterday I put those strawberries into an unusual salad, a recipe from Ellie Krieger in which she pairs fresh strawberries with chewy mozzarella, crunchy Romaine, and slivers of fresh basil. The idea intrigued me: strawberries with the ingredients usually found in caprese salads? But to be honest, I thought that the berries tasted weird and out of place with mozzarella and basil. It wasn’t bad, and it was certainly pretty enough on the plate, but still, I’d rather have tomatoes here in a more traditional version of caprese set gently in a bed of Romaine.
However, because I am an optimist sometimes, it’s worth noting that the dressing was quite good and worth remembering. A simple vinaigrette made with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper, this particular recipe gets the proportions just right for a lightly dressed, not-too-oily salad. I know you don’t really need a recipe for salad dressing, but I feel better starting off with a recipe and then tasting and tweaking to my tongue’s delight.
I’m keeping things short and sweet tonight, so no further ado: a super-simple vinaigrette for your salad-making needs.
From Ellie Krieger’s So Easy
Makes a small batch of dressing (less than 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup best-quality extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1) Place all the ingredients in a jar. Seal it with a tight-fitting lid, shake like crazy, and voila: salad dressing. Store unused dressing in the fridge in its little jar.