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Salads, Vegetarian

Spinach and strawberry salad with thyme-infused vinaigrette

Spinach and strawberry salad with thyme-infused vinaigrette
Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

It's a great time of year for kitchen gardeners. Good rains mean great greens, and we've been happily tracking muddy footprints into the house as we bring in fresh-cut large-leaf mache or Italian wild arugula. At the same time, we're ... Read more

Total time: 30 minutes, plus steeping time | Serves 4 to 6
  • 1/2 cup best-quality olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, divided (any variety of strongly flavored thyme will work; lemon thyme gives a particularly nice flavor)
  • 4 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 small shallot, finely minced (1 generous tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 pound baby spinach leaves (about 12 cups), stemmed, washed and dried well, and any large leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 pints fresh strawberries, preferably red and yellow, washed, dried, hulled and sliced lengthwise
  • 4 sprigs thyme or strawberry blossoms for garnish

Step 1Pour the olive oil into a small saucepan and heat over low heat until warm, about 2 minutes, then remove the saucepan from the heat. Pour the oil into a small nonreactive bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon thyme, and allow the mixture to cool and steep, at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.

Step 2Whisk the vinegar into the cooled thyme-oil mixture until well-blended, then whisk in the mustard, shallot, remaining chopped herbs and salt and pepper. Check the seasoning and adjust to taste.

Step 3Place the spinach in a large salad bowl and drizzle the vinaigrette over by spoonfuls, tossing after each addition until the leaves are just slightly glossy with the coating. Pile the salad evenly among 4 chilled plates, and arrange the strawberry slices evenly on top of each. Garnish with strawberry blossoms if available, or with a sprig of fresh thyme.

Note: This makes three-fourths cup dressing. Save the remaining dressing, refrigerated and covered, for 1 week.


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