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Author Notes: At Aroha Restaurant in Westlake, California, Chef Gwithyen Thomas serves this salad with goat cheese and candied walnuts. As a nod to New Zealand’s long tradition of sheep farming, we’ve substituted sheep’s milk farmer’s cheese (or ricotta) for the goat cheese, and pistachios for the candied walnuts.
There’s a lot going on in this simple salad—sweet fresh berries, tangy cheese, bitter salad greens—but there is a wine versatile enough to stand up to all of these elements. A fruiter, New World-style New Zealand rosé (we paired the Villa Maria Private Bin Rosé with it), rather than a dry, pale Provençal rendition, would fit the bill nicely: Forward berry aromatics and flavors in the wine will echo those of the salad’s strawberries, and light vanilla/cream notes in the wine will marry nicely with the vinaigrette’s fresh vanilla bean flavor. Arugula’s peppery bite reins in the sweetness and creaminess nicely. —Food52
For the Champagne vanilla dressing:
- 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- 1/2 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds.
- Combine vanilla bean seeds, Champagne vinegar, honey, and Dijon mustard in a mixing bowl. Slowly add the extra virgin olive oil and hot water to mix, using a handheld blender on high.
For the salad:
- 2 cups sliced strawberries
- 2 cups baby arugula
- 2 ounces sheep's milk farmer’s cheese (or ricotta cheese), crumbled
- 1 cup pistachios, shelled
- Combine strawberries, arugula, and pistachios in a bowl. Add dressing to taste and toss salad.
- Transfer to individual salad plates, top with crumbled cheese, and serve.
- This recipe is a Community Pick!