What to CookSalad

A Better Way to Put Strawberries into Salad (It Involves Bacon)

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Salad shouldn't be an obligation or an afterthought—and it doesn't always have to be kale, either. Every other Thursday, Elizabeth Stark from Brooklyn Supper will help you make salads you actually want to eat. 

Today: Enough with the baby spinach salads with strawberries, goat cheese, walnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette already! Here's a better way to incorporate strawberries into a savory salad—and it involves bacon.

As spring gives way to summer, I'm grateful I can finally take strawberries for granted. The first berries of the season are precious—they're purchased or picked, then consumed on the spot. Later, there's time for carefully prepared sweets like pie and cake. But once I grow accustomed to seeing that green carton on the counter, fruit flies circling, I can finally do whatever I want with them. 

I like to drown a handful of strawberries in maple syrup and serve them over pancakes; I like to eat at least a quart standing over the sink, rinsing each berry one by one; but I remain cautious with salads, no matter how late in the season. I've eaten too many once-delicious strawberries sucked of their flavor by salt and vinegar. But, if treated carefully, strawberries can add the perfect pop of sweetness to a savory summer salad. By halving the berries and piling them off to one side until the last possible minute, you'll protect them from the ravages of salt.

This salad piles on flavors and textures for a dinner-worthy creation that's wonderful as a side or all on its own. I like the salad best warm, when the farro has that wonderful chewiness and the sourness of the lemon hasn't yet faded into the olive oil. Like always, bacon does wonders, and salty, crunchy pepitas dusted with chili powder really bring it home. 

Farro, Kale, and Strawberry Salad with Bacon and Chili-Dusted Pepitas

Serves 4

1 small shallot, minced
Zest of 1 lemon plus 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Sea salt, to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup dry farro
1/2 pound bacon
1/4 cup raw, hulled pepitas
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 bunch lacinato kale, sliced into thin ribbons
1 quart strawberries, hulled and halved
Black pepper, to taste

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Elizabeth Stark

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Strawberry, Vegetable, Side, Weeknight Cooking