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Kitchen Adventures: Spinach, strawberry and almond salad

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Food column by Becca Owsley

By Becca Owsley

The “Favorite Recipes of Kentucky Celebrities” cookbook features recipes from Ashley Judd, Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus, various politicians and Elizabethtown’s Amy Dudgeon. Nestled between the pages is a little recipe by this non-celebrity for spinach, strawberry and almond salad.

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The cookbook was created by Pam Whinnery, who lives in the western part of the state, to be used as a fundraiser for nonprofit organizations throughout Kentucky.

The spinach, strawberry and almond salad is super easy and can add an elegant touch to a summer meal.

You can buy a bag of leaf spinach or use fresh spinach from your grocers produce section. A bag will make a nice size salad but you can use less or more depending on how much is needed.

Make sure to wash the bagged spinach. It’s not always as clean as it claims to be. Picking through the leaves instead of just plopping them in the bowl also is a good idea. Usually in each bag there are some leaves that are not as fresh as they should be. A bite into one of those could ruin someone’s salad experience.

One pint of strawberries will work but more can be used if you prefer a fruiter taste. This time of year, strawberries fresh from the garden also would be nice.

A quick way to slice strawberries is to use an egg slicer. For it to work, a strong egg slicer is needed. A too-tough strawberry might break a weak slicer.

Almonds can be purchased already sliced and ready to go.

For the vinaigrette, the vinegar and sugar amounts can be changed to suit your taste. For sweeter tasting vinaigrettes, add more sugar or sugar substitute. For a more tart taste, use more vinegar.

The somewhat mushier strawberries can be chosen, creating the strawberry juiced used in the vinaigrette. That way the firm bright colored ones can be used in the salad and the ones that have been stuck on the bottom of the container that are not as pretty can be used for the vinaigrette.

The vinaigrette can be made in any container but a reused olive oil glass jar works nicely. Mix vinaigrette by shaking in the jar.

The vinaigrette doesn’t need to overpower the salad. Use just enough tossed into the salad to add taste.

If the salad is taken to an event or potluck, wait until you arrive at the event to toss the vinaigrette. Adding it too early can make spinach leaves too soggy and strawberries mushy.

The rich green spinach leaves behind the ripe red strawberries creates a beautiful dish and the almonds add a crunchy texture.

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741.

Spinach, Strawberry and Almond Salad
Ingredients vary depending on the size of the salad
Fresh leafy spinach (one bag or a couple fresh bunches)
1 pint strawberries
Sliced almonds
White vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar

Salad: Wash spinach and place in a salad bowl. Slice strawberries lengthwise saving six good size ones for vinaigrette. Add sliced strawberries. Sprinkle sliced almonds on top using just about a handful.
Vinaigrette: Squeeze the juice out of the strawberries; a ricer or any type of press used in a kitchen could work for this. About 1/4 cup of juice will work. Add vinegar and at least two teaspoons of sugar. Amounts vary depending on taste. Usually, matching the amount of vinegar with the strawberry juice works.
Toss the vinaigrette into the salad.
Source: Favorite Recipes of Kentucky Celebrities