Nicole is quite possibly the most wonderful girl in the world. After weeks (if not months) of listening to endless monologues on my intense and everlasting love for berries, she found a way for me to EAT those fresh North Country berries before I left for the Big Apple (where organic apples are ironically hard to find). On my absolute last day in town I booked it over to Nicole’s house for one last hang-out, and what did my eyes alight upon in the kitchen?
A beautiful pint of ruby-red, shining like diamonds, small and therefore sweet STRAWBERRIES. Here’s the thing. It’s still too cold for strawberries. But it was infinitely clear to me that these were not supermarket wares. Turns out, fifteen miles away, a nursery had planted strawberry plants in their greenhouse, where it IS warm enough to grow the luscious little berries, even in May.
One anxious car ride later we were there, and I was almost bursting with anticipation. But there were no strawberry crates to be found. I almost threw a tantrum, but then I reeled it in and asked if they had any strawberries left. A very nice girl (who I think was a little alarmed by my zealotry) told us she could go pick some, at which point I almost steamrolled her with my breathless: “Could we pick our own?”
So that’s how I got them. Those beautiful, beautiful berries that I will dream about for the rest of my life. Obviously I scarfed down the majority of my box on the way home, but I managed to save a few for this fresh summer salad. Go forth and find berries. They’re waiting for you.
Strawberry Balsamic Mint Salad
(serves four or five, let’s share the love)
- Several large handfuls of salad greens
- 1 pint of strawberries (20 or so strawberries), thinly sliced
- 4 green onions or scallions, minced
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
In the bottom of a large bowl combine the dressing ingredients. Place your salad fixins on top, and gently toss to coat the leaves. The sweetness of the berries plays off the deep, rich flavor of the balsamic vinegar. The mint is surprising and extremely refreshing, and somehow the green onions give the whole thing just enough bite to keep it from veering towards a leafy dessert. Consume with a tall glass of iced tea or a cold rice salad and embrace the summer months ahead.