Fresh strawberries in the local markets mean that summer, my favourite season, is finally here. My childhood summertime memories of are of sunshine streaming through the apple tree and into my bedroom window, slathering homemade strawberry jam on toast for breakfast, and then heading outside to see which of the numerous neighbourhood kids were available to play for the day. Picking strawberries was a late afternoon chore I shared with my brothers, although I’m sure they’d tell you that they did the lion’s share of the work. For some strange reason, my mother served strawberries with milk and sugar–must be an English thing passed down from her mother. They are so succulent and sweet on their own, I couldn’t imagine destroying them in this way now.
On my first day of summer break this year, I stopped off at Silverside Farm and picked up some fresh picked strawberries and a bag of arugula. We had this fabulous salad with barbecued chicken kabobs. It was a terrific combination of flavours and textures that just seemed to work.
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
4 cups baby arugula, or replace some with fresh spinach
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 ounces blue cheese crumbled into small pieces
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Combine the greens, strawberries and cheese. Top with walnuts. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and drizzle over top just before serving.