It’s strawberry season in Ireland, especially in County Wicklow, where the luscious berries are grown in great number at places like Green’s Berry Farm in Gorey.  Delicious in shortcakes, jams, and quick beads, of course, but for a change of pace toss them in a salad with cheese and nuts and top it with honey-mustard vinaigrette, creamy poppy seed or blue cheese dressing. Buy your favorite salad greens loose or in convenient 10-ounce bags; add baby spinach and arugula, if you like.

STRAWBERRY-BLUEBERRY SALAD WITH HONEY-MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE

SERVES 4

For the salad

Mixed lettuce, spinach, arugula

1 cup whole strawberries

1 cup sliced strawberries

1/2 cup blueberries

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/2 red onion, sliced (optional)

Crumbled blue cheese (optional)

For the vinaigrette

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 cup canola oil

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper

Steps:

     1. Make salad. Combine mixed greens, strawberries, blueberries, pine nuts, onion (if using), and blue cheese (if using) in a large bowl.

     2. Make vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, honey, vanilla and almond extracts, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in oil until blended; whisk in vinegar.

     3. Pour dressing over salad; toss gently. Arrange on salad places, sprinkle with pepper, and serve.

POPPY SEED DRESSING

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

2 tablespoons white vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, milk, poppy seeds, vinegar, salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.

BLUE CHEESE DRESSING

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/4 cup cold water

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese, such as Cashel Blue, plus more for topping

In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, water, and pepper; stir in 1/2 cup blue cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.

(Below, Green's Berry Farm, Gorey, County Wicklow)

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Tags: Cooking, Irish Kitchen, Irish cooking, Meals, Recipes, Salads

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