I know this recipe isn't altogether seasonal - the thought of fresh, local strawberries might make my heart go pitter-patter, but I accept that it will still be many months away before they reach my belly. However, I walked past a display of California berries the other day and I just couldn't resist.
This dressing has a secret ingredient - Worcestershire sauce. My mom's version calls for a lot of it - there's even a scribbling at the top of her recipe, "Note: amount of Worcestershire not a mistake". I think hers called for something like 1/2 cup - granted, it yields a large amount.
Unable to track down the index card where I had scribbled her formula, I riffed on it - with very tasty results.
Worcestershire sauce is based on a tangy blend of malt vinegar, molasses, tamarind, sugar, anchovies, onion and garlic - really, it makes perfect sense for a vinaigrette. And while it has a distinct aroma in the bottle, you really can't detect it in the salad.
The other components of the dressing are grated onion (in a small amount, but not negotiable - it's very important!), sugar, oil, pungent white vinegar and crunchy poppyseeds. It's quite sweet - it really enhances the strawberries and takes the earthy edge off of the raw spinach.
Toasted almonds and creamy cheese add textural interest. To toast almonds, spread on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven and bake for about 6 minutes, watching closely and shaking the pan a couple of times.
I didn't have goat cheese, and I had some feta to use up - you can use either, but my preference is for soft goat cheese.
Toss with some cooked, cooled quinoa and/or sliced chicken for a complete meal.
- Prep Time
- 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tbsp finely grated onion
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
- 12 cups (2-10 oz bags) baby spinach
- 2 cups (1 pint) strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- 4 oz (6 tbsp/110 g) soft goat cheese or feta, crumbled
Whisk together all dressing ingredients, taste, and add more salt if needed.
In a large bowl, combine baby spinach and sliced strawberries. Add a splash of dressing and toss. Repeat, adding small amounts of dressing and tossing until leaves are lightly coated (you will have extra dressing).
Divide among six plates and top with sliced almonds and goat cheese (or add almonds and cheese to the large bowl and gently toss everything together).