Monday, August 29, 2011

Strawberry Fields Forever

This time last year, Hubby and I went to Disney World for a long weekend.  We learned a lot of things on that trip: Never ever go to Florida in late August; Never get involved in a land war in Asia; Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line;  And finally, strawberry balsamic on a simple green salad is a gift from the gods. 

When we got home I went on a hard target search for strawberry balsamic.  Oddly enough, we had recently purchased roughly $95 in assorted flavored balsamic vinegars and olive oils while on our honeymoon. ("it was an impulse buy, the guy spoke with an accent and said it suited us") but sadly, we had skipped the strawberry.  We were so naive!

I finally found some at this little specialty store in Frederick and did a little happy dance.  No seriously, ask my friend Jen, she was there and very embarrassed by my happy dance.  When I got home that night, I was so excited to re-make the salad we'd had at Disney World, but I couldn't remember some of the details.  I knew it was made with field greens and I knew there were onions in it.  I vaguely recalled some cheese but wasn't sure which, and I knew there was something salty and crunchy but Hubby and I couldn't agree on what it was.  So I just started experimenting.  And I'm happy to say, I came up with this delicious salad.  It isn't exactly the same, but it is sublime in its own right.  I whole heartedly suggest you go out and get yourself some strawberry balsamic today and make this salad:

Start with a nice big bowl of Field Greens.  I used to hate this variety of lettuce, but I've recently started appreciating the different flavor notes it provides.  I do usually pick out the Frisee though since that texture kind of freaks me out. 

Next slice up some Red Onions.  I use about a third of an onion sliced very thinly.  Sprinkle these over the lettuce.

For the cheese, I finally settled on Goat Cheese.  I love the creamy, tanginess which is a little more subtle then Feta.  I actually think the in the original Disney salad, the cheese was a nice slice of hard Parmesan.  But when I was experimenting I had the goat cheese in my fridge so I went with that and I decided it was a winner.

Also in my cupboard that day were some Pistachios.  I don't know what possessed me to add them, but I even went so far as shelling a few dozen that night, and I'm not sorry I did.  They bring a lovely salty crunch to this sweet, soft salad.  I have since discovered that Trader Joes sells a little bag of already shelled pistachios, and it'll last a while so I go ahead and splurge on it. 

Finally drizzle on the Strawberry Balsamic - I typically cover the mouth of the bottle with my thumb and do a nice wide spiral twice around the bowl.  You don't want too much because this stuff is powerful. 

I also add a drizzle of olive oil along with a pinch of salt and pepper. 

Toss it all together and enjoy this sweet, delicious, summery salad with a side of that grilled chicken we made a few weeks ago (well... a new batch, not the same batch from a few weeks ago.... )

So sweet, so tangy, so salty, so good!

Shopping List for Strawberry Balsamic Salad (Makes 2 small servings or 1 large serving)

  • 2 Cups Field Green
  • 1/3 Red Onion - sliced very thin
  • 1/2 Cup Goat Cheese - crumbled
  • 1/2 Cup Salted Pistachio Nutmeats (did you know that is what the inner nut is called? According to the bag it is)
  • Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Cracked Pepper


  1. I really enjoy reading your posts! Where did you get the original salad in Disney World? Yes, never go to Disney in August. What a nightmare!

  2. Thanks Jenn! We went to the Liberty Tree Tavern in the Magic Kingdom and the salad was the 1st course for their all you can eat Thanksgiving Dinner. What sucked was that we both loved the salad and wanted more but didn't want to fill up before the feast. I could have easily eaten my fil on that salad alone.