I have to admit: this week’s recipe was not borne out of creativity, but necessity. I needed to have strawberry vinaigrette this weekend. There was no other option.
But Chicca—you might say—when does anyone ever need strawberry vinaigrette? And while I would have been asking the same thing earlier this week, desperate times call for desperate measures. I ask you one question in return: what else do you do with two accidental pints of strawberries and more greens than you could possibly hope to consume otherwise?
Yeah, okay, so I went a little overboard at the farmer’s market this weekend. But can you blame me when everything looked so good? The stalls were overflowing with leafy jewels, a good number of which I had never even heard of, not to mention tasted. The strawberry man was also selling his berries at $4 for 2 pints, and with berry prices with what they are elsewhere, how could I possibly turn him down?
So you see, I found myself on Saturday afternoon, walking home with the weight of my bounty on my shoulders, and I realized—what on earth am I going to do with all of this produce? I could sauté them—and I did sauté some—but in this moment, sautéed greens just remind me of winter when I want to take advantage of these vegetables as they are in the moment. And so I decided that the only possible thing to do with the ingredients at hand was to make a bunch of delicious salads. The next logical thought? Strawberry vinaigrette.
I’m honestly not sure why that was my next thought, since I am almost positive that I have never eaten strawberry vinaigrette before in my life. It was an excellent decision, though, and a perfect way to take advantage of this season’s booming strawberry crop. Add in some lovely, springy, oniony chives and you’ve got yourself a flavorful yet unusual crowd-pleaser. It is especially good for those squishy-but-not-yet-bad berries that are still perfectly alright, even if they don’t look too pretty. It’s also tangy and sweet at the same time, which is not usually something I go for but has me questioning why I don’t usually go for it. In the photos I’ve put it on a salad of purple mustard greens (confusing name, right?), a green that I can’t for the life of me remember the name of, and some radishes. You could stick to the old standby of spinach and bacon, though with all the beautiful lettuces showing up right now, do you really want to? At any rate, it’s fun and tangy and flavorful—go whip some up and try it yourself!
2 cups (260 g) strawberries, cut into chunks
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
About 20-25 g chives*, finely chopped
4 tsp olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
Before I start, one important note– there are two ways to do this recipe. One involves a blender and the other does not. I will detail this further into the recipe, but please note that if you are using a blender, you do not need to pay as much attention to the chopping sizes of the ingredients as described in the recipe below. Please do still cut your strawberries and slice your chives, but don’t worry about getting them to be as fine as they should be if you choose to make this recipe without the blender.
After cutting your strawberries into medium-small chunks (smaller if you are not using a blender), throw them in a bowl with the salt and the sugar and mix to coat well. Let them sit for at least fifteen minutes– the salt and sugar will draw some of the liquid out of the berries, making the sauce tastier and making your blending job easier later on.
While your strawberries are sitting, prepare your chives. If you are not using a blender, make sure to slice them super finely– the idea is to avoid having to chew your salad dressing. If you are not using a blender, they can be a bit more roughly sliced. Heat about a teaspoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. When hot, add the chives and cook, stirring frequently, until they are aromatic and slightly soft. Remove from heat.
If you are not using a blender, squish the strawberries with a fork and then add the chives, olive oil, and vinegar. Whisk very well to combine, then serve.
If you are using a blender, add the chives, strawberries, olive oil, and vinegar to the blender and pulse. Serve when combined or when desired smoothness (or chunkiness) has been achieved.
The vinaigrette should last for a few days in the fridge.
*I forgot to measure these into a cup before adding them to the dressing, but I would estimate that 23g (what I used) was about a third cup, finely chopped, though feel free to add chives to taste.