Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Short and Sweet (Strawberry Kiwi Salad)

I wanted something light and fresh for dinner tonight and, as it so happens, we had plenty of strawberries and kiwi fruit leftover after a weekend visit from our darling nephews. I feel a little guilty calling this a recipe, as a list of ingredients could just about cover it, really. We'll just file this one under "lazy" and celebrate that it's something you can throw together at a moment's notice.

Does it help if it's extra tasty?
I seem to recall a brief period during the 90s when Snapple was all the rage. I believe everyone in the free world is now thoroughly familiar with the strawberry/kiwi combination, but I feel that I rarely see it outside of juice and yogurt. An oldie, but a goodie? Retro? Whatever your take, I think it's delicious.

Practically done already
Being so naturally sweet, juicy, and brilliantly colored, these berries lend themselves easily to minimal preparation like a salad. The sweeter strawberry is cooled a bit by kiwi fruit's intriguing melange of melon, citrus, and grassy flavors. Since most of the work's done for you, there's little excuse not to make your own dressing; I recommend this easy strawberry champagne vinaigrette. It's sharpness helps to cut the sweetness so, should you be so inclined, you can still include this as a part of dinner.

Scoop, then spin
Historically speaking, were it not for an unfortunate swelling of anti-Chinese sentiment in the US during the 1950s, we'd know the kiwi fruit as a Chinese gooseberry, but I have to say I think my favorite name is "melonette." Perhaps we'll turn the melonette into a future cocktail? For years, I've brutalized my kiwi fruit, clumsily hacking off the skin with a knife. There's a better way: slice the berries in half crosswise and use a spoon to slip between the flesh and skin, scooping it out much like an avocado. Eureka!

Remarkable contrast
 Strawberry kiwi salad

Should you be short on strawberry jam, raspberry will be a sufficient stand-in. Likewise, if you're unable to find champagne vinegar (I searched Wegman's to no avail but, oddly enough, found a bottle in our local Target), red or white wine vinegar (but not distilled white vinegar) will do.

2-3 kiwi fruits
12 strawberries
4 c fresh spring greens
1 c pecans, toasted

For the dressing:

1 tbs strawberry jam
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
2 tbs champagne vinegar
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Trying to work on my knife-work
Begin by hulling the strawberries and quartering them lengthwise. Slice the kiwi fruit in half and scoop the flesh out with a spoon, then cut each hemisphere in half again lengthwise. Slice into half moons.

Mound a cup of greens on each plate, topping with strawberries, kiwi fruit, and pecans.

Entirely as easy as it appears
To make the dressing, combine the jam, mustard, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and beat with a fork or whisk until incorporated. Stream in the vinegar, beating again until combined. Finally, stream in the olive oil and beat vigorously until emulsified.

Dressing may be spooned over the salads immediately, or kept to the side. Serves 4.



beti said...

for me it really is one of the best combinations and I think you are right, I've never seen that combination besides juices or yogurth and I think I will use them more often, the salad looks delicious and really fresh

J said...

Thanks, Beti! Much to my chagrin, when I googled "strawberry kiwi salad" afterward, it turns out the web has quite a few. Still, I'd like to use them more and I think they make such a pretty combination I can see why they're so popular.