This salad features an unusual combination of flavors — strawberries, tarragon, blue cheese and fresh baby greens — with spectacular effect. The secret to its success is the strawberry-infused balsamic vinegar, which requires a little time but is well worth the wait. This salad is at its stellar best when you use sweet organic berries. The recipe makes more than enough dressing for this amount of salad, so you can enjoy an encore later in the week.
From Food to Live By: The Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook by Myra Goodman
Prepare the flavored vinegar by mashing 3 strawberries against the side of a small bowl with a fork. Add the 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and stir to combine. Set aside at room temperature to allow the vinegar to absorb the strawberry flavor, 1 to 2 hours. Strain the flavored vinegar through a sieve, pressing to release all the liquid from the berries. Discard the solids and set the strawberry vinegar aside.
Meanwhile, cut the remaining strawberries in half lengthwise so they're bite-size. (If you have larger berries, cut them into quarters.)
Place the berries in a small, shallow bowl, add the 2 tablespoons of aged balsamic vinegar and stir to coat. Set aside to marinate at room temperature, 1 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. (If you don't have a high-quality aged balsamic, skip this step and use the strawberries without marinating them.)
Prepare the vinaigrette by placing the strawberry-flavored vinegar, tarragon oil, mustard and salt in a glass jar and close the lid tightly. Shake the jar vigorously to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
Just before serving, place the greens and tarragon in a large salad bowl and toss to combine. Add 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Toss to lightly coat the leaves, and taste to see if more vinaigrette is needed. (Leftover dressing can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days.)
Transfer the greens to individual salad plates. Arrange the marinated strawberries on the greens and sprinkle with the nuts and cheese. Serve immediately.