Strawberries. The bursting of their sweet juices, awaking my taste buds, brings back sweet, sweet memories. Strawberries, for me, come paired with memories of my grandma. She had countless strawberry plants lining the side of her small white house winding their way into her small backyard garden. Their bright white blossoms in spring foretold of their ruby red treasures to come.
Today we have several of her strawberry plants transplanted into our own humble garden. Through them the memory of my grandma lives on. We can use her nurtured plants to recreate her Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler. It is not quite as good as her version, thought I doubt that it could ever be. We are missing that special flavor that can only be created in grandma’s kitchen.
Their bright red flesh and sweet juicy notes can go beyond cobblers, pies, and tarts, and pair well with a variety of ingredients. Today I have paired their sweet flavors with crisp kale, spring onions, toasted hazelnuts, and a sweet orange balsamic vinaigrette. I have tossed in some beautiful black caviar lentils for protein. This dish is a little bit of grandma and a little bit of me. I think she would be proud knowing her strawberry tradition lives on.
- 1 cup black caviar lentils, rinsed
- 2 cups sliced strawberries
- 3 scallions
- 1 bunch kale
- ⅓ cup hazelnuts
- For the Orange Balsamic Dressing:
- 1 clove garlic
- Zest and juice from ½ an orange
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Once the hazelnuts are cool enough to handle, use a clean dish towel to rub off the skins. After toasting the skins should be brittle and fall off easily. Coarsely chop the hazelnuts and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan combine lentils and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook the lentils for 12-18 minutes until they have absorbed most of the water and are soft but not mushy. Drain lentils in a fine mesh colander and rinse with cold water until lentils are cold. Place in the bottom of a large bowl.
- Wash and thoroughly dry the kale. Cut into bite size pieces and place in the bowl with the lentils. Slice the scallions into ¼ inch pieces. Add scallions, hazelnuts, and strawberries to the bowl.
- To make the dressing, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients except the olive oil. Once all the ingredients are incorporated slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking constantly. This insures a creams emulsified dressing. Pour the dressing into the salad bowl and toss to coat completely. Serve.