Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries… berries of any kind make me think of Saturday morning summers at the farmer’s market. Over the last several years, farmer’s markets have become a universally popular weekend outing. A long time ago, it seemed as if farmer’s markets could only be reached in European countries and big US cities, but now it’s a common weekend event in just about any city and small town. The Memphis Farmer’s Market is downtown and just walking distance from where we live. Tres and I rarely miss a Saturday to pick up fresh produce and local meats to use for the upcoming week. If I do miss a weekend at the Memphis Farmer’s Market though, it’s because I’m with my mom in Hernando, Mississippi, the small town I grew up in, at their farmer’s market on the town square. It’s quite charming, and being in Mississippi, there’s plenty farming to go around to share with the community. The first time I made this berry salad came from a farmer’s market trip, and it continues to be a healthy staple in out house. Don’t forget strawberries and blueberries at the market this weekend!
Grocery List (enough for 2 large salads or 4 small salads):
For the Salad: 5 oz spinach leaves 1 large bunch of basil (about ½ cup) 1 large bunch of mint (about ½ cup) 8-10 fresh strawberries - quartered 1 cup fresh blueberries ¼ cup toasted almonds (toast over medium heat on the stove for about 5 minutes) 4 oz goat cheese 1 large avocado - cubed
Optional: 1 lb chicken tenders Olive oil Kosher salt Pepper 2 tsp fresh thyme – chopped
For the dressing: ¼ cup balsamic vinegar 2 tsbp honey 4 strawberries – chopped 1/2 lemon – zest and juice 1 clove garlic – chopped ½ cup good quality, sweet extra virgin olive oil ½ tsp Kosher salt
Take the basil and mint off the stems. Wash, dry, and toss the spinach, basil, and mint together.
Step 2 (optional):
If using chicken, heat a grill pan to high heat. Brush olive oil on chicken and sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, and thyme. Grill 3-4 minutes on each side. Set aside and let cool. When ready to top salad with the chicken, cut each strip into 3-4 pieces at an angle.
Make the dressing by throwing all the listed ingredients (except olive oil) into a food processer or blender and blend until strawberries are smooth. While the food processor is running, slowly add in the olive oil from the top until combined. Taste the dressing. Add salt and honey to taste.
Add half of the salad dressing to the greens right before serving and toss together. Top the salad with chicken, strawberries, blueberries, goat cheese, almonds, and avocado. Drizzle the top with a little more dressing. Serve the rest of the dressing on the side. You may have plenty of dressing left over. It can be stored in the fridge for about one week.
CHEERS TO HAPPY EATING!!!