Strawberries in a salad has been done a zillion times, but that’s because it’s so good. Strawberries, sweet, juicy and pretty lay well against a vinaigrette and bring a special flavor and balance to a salad. When the salad is arugula with strawberries and Manchego cheese, it’s a special treat, getting a little bit of sweet, savory, and creamy.
What I like most about this salad is that there are only three ingredients, yet it still tastes special. Arugula is one of those salad greens that brings such a blast of peppery tang that I don’t like to inundate with a lot of ingredients. I like to give it star billing and allow the dressing and a few ingredients to remain in important supporting roles.
The strawberries are Tennessee strawberries picked this past week, and they are sweet the way local berries in season are. Manchego cheese is one of my top five favorite cheeses. It’s an aged sheep’s milk cheese from Spain, that is crumbly and flavorful, and has universal appeal. I’ve never met anyone that has been hostile to Manchego. It’s marries well with fruit and the peppery arugula. The dressing is almost too simple here. Arugula takes oil quickly so one must be careful not to over dress it. A quick tossing of extra virgin olive oil, followed by a squeeze of fresh lemon and dot of good balsamic and the salad is done.
The Salad Bar
This is an entry for a new cooking group called the Salad bar started by Wendy, of Weekend Gourmet. Every month, we are assigned a new ingredient. I love salads and thought this would be fun.
If you don’t have strawberries, use a different berry. I love blackberries and had that on a different night.
If you want to try a very unique arugula berry salad, try this one made with a confetti of white chocolate instead of cheese.
So tell me, what do you like most in your salad?
- 4 cups arugula (or one container)
- 1 cup strawberries, trimmed and sliced in half
- 2 ounces Manchego cheese, shaved
- fresh lemon juice squeezed from half lemon
- ¼ teaspoon syrupy balsamic vinegar (optional)
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Toss arugula with one tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, one teaspoon at a time because you may not need it to. Add lemon juice and balsamic vinegar. Toss again. Season with salt and pepper. Add strawberries and cheese.