Strawberry and Ricotta Salad

By Food52
July 20, 2017
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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.

Serves: 4

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
  1. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds.
  2. 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
  1. Combine strawberries, arugula, and pistachios in a bowl. Add dressing to taste and toss salad.
  2. Transfer to individual salad plates, top with crumbled cheese, and serve.

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