Saturday, May 4, 2019

Strawberry-Cucumber Salad with Candied Almonds


Happy May, friends!

My family loves a good salad and here is a salad that says "Hello, It's Spring!" in a big way.  Adapted from a recipe we enjoyed at a friend's home recently, I've served this salad a few times and have tweaked the recipe to make it my own by adding candied almonds and pea shoots that I grew from seed.  This would make a delicious salad to make for your Mother's Day celebration!


I love how the savory cucumber and pea shoots contrast with the sweet strawberries, crunchy candied almonds and strawberry vinaigrette in this recipe.  This salad is a celebration of textures and flavors... and May and Mother's Day are two occasions to celebrate!  I can't wait to start gardening and get things blooming and growing in my outdoor garden.


I started pea shoots from seeds again this year and now have lots of cute little pea shoots to snip and garnish just about anything from salad to soup to entrees. They're even delicious on a simple tuna salad.  If you can't find pea shoots, you can substitute any micro greens your market might carry or use watercress or parsley.  If you would like to try growing pea shoots, take a look HERE


I also tweaked the strawberry vinaigrette and used Champagne vinegar for a milder, less acidic taste.  It's absolutely delicious and can be made a day ahead.  Add some poppy seeds if you like them.  It's the crowning glory to this wonderful salad! 


Once again, Happy May, from my home and our magnolia tree!

Strawberry-Cucumber Salad with Candied Almonds and Strawberry Vinaigrette

Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

4 ounces mixed baby greens
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries, halved, if large, and sliced
1 cup sliced cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded and sliced
2 green onions, with some of the light green part, sliced thinly
Pea shoots, other Micro green shoots or Watercress (Optional)
1/2 cup Candied almonds (Optional, Recipe follows)

Fresh Strawberry Poppy seed Dressing (Recipe follows)

Candied Almonds:

1/2 cup water
7 ounces (1 cup) sugar (granulated)
2 cups sliced almonds, or other nuts or seeds

(Note: Be very cautious of liquid caramelized sugar, as it can burn your skin if you stir too vigorously or are not carefully pouring them out of the pan.)

Cover a cookie sheet with a silicone mat, or line it with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Set the baking sheet aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the water and sugar, and place the pan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then bring the mixture to a boil. Once the sugar syrup is boiling, add the almonds and reduce the heat to medium. Stir frequently until the sugar crystallizes around the almonds, this should take about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on heat. When the sugar crystallizes, continue stirring even though it may become harder to stir. Eventually, the sugar will start to re-melt and then it will caramelize, turn a deep golden brown color, and the liquid caramel will coat the almonds. The caramelizing process could take 15 minutes.

Once the sugar is caramelized and completely liquid, pour the almonds out onto the prepared baking sheet. Use a fork to separate the nuts while the sugar is still liquid. Let the almonds set at room temperature until they're cool and hard. Once the almonds are set, break them apart and serve or store.

These delicious candied almonds can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week, during dry conditions. Add to salads or as a topping for ice cream or desserts.

Strawberry Vinaigrette: 

1 cup quartered fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup Champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons poppy seeds (Optional)

Place the strawberries, sugar, vinegar, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a blender. Mix gently and then let stand 15 minutes then process until smooth, about 15 seconds. Scrape down and process briefly again if there are any larger chunks of strawberry remaining. Turn blender to low, and gradually add olive oil in a slow stream. Place mixture in a jar or cruet and add poppy seeds, if using. Refrigerate until ready to use. Whisk before serving, if necessary.

Salad Assembly:

Place salad ingredients, up to and including candied almonds, in a serving bowl or platter. Lightly dress with Strawberry Vinaigrette and serve.  Pass extra dressing at the table.

30 comments:

  1. As pretty as a picture! So funny we both made one:) Love the colors so much and of course candied pecans:)Have a great weekend!

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    1. And almost the same time! The candied almonds are delicious! You could use pecans or any kind of nut or seed ;) We have Dane coming to spend the day and a baseball game for Mack tomorrow and then Bo here on Monday. It will be a great weekend ♥ Thank, you, Pea!

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  2. What a beautiful and delicious spring salad! I love those tender pea shots. Fantastic, Susan!

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    1. We really enjoyed this one, Angie, and I absolutely love having something green growing indoors when it's still chilly outside :) Thank you, Angie!

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  3. Summer's fast approaching and we change the way we eat,welcome light salads !A warm hug from Trieste !

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    1. Yes, before we know it, and I feel the same way :) Hugs and thank you, Chiara! xoxo

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  4. It sounds delicious, but beyond that it is just plain beautiful!

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  5. What delicious and amazing salad! And I love yours pictures, always are wonderful! xo

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  6. What a springy salad. It looks wonderful Susan. We've paired cucumbers and strawberries in a salad before but never with pea shoots or such a lovely sounding vinaigrette. As soon as our local berries arrive we'll give this a try.

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  7. Thank you, Ron! We loved the combination of flavors. Locally grown berries will taste wonderful. Our local berries will be here in June. I can't wait!

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  8. I eat a salad everyday, Susan, and your salad is calling my name. It looks so gorgeous, and the pea shoots add a special flourish. Thanks for sharing the recipe! Your magnolia blossoms are so pretty!

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  9. Susan this is a test. Karen (Back Road Journal)

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  10. I LOVE strawberries in a salad. This one looks so fresh and delicious, that even though I just polished off a salad of my own, I am ready to dig into yours. I'll be trying this one, and that beautiful and amazing looking vinaigrette!

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    1. Thank you, Pattie! I think you'll love it!

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    2. I forgot to mention that I love the idea of pea shoots. I have never had a pea shoot. I need to plant peas next spring.

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    3. They're so easy to grow indoors in the late winter too. All you need is a fairly sunny window :) I love them on salads.

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  11. Susan, this is such a gorgeous salad! I'm just dreaming about how wonderful the strawberries and candied almonds would be. And that strawberry vinaigrette - YUM!

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  12. What a beautiful and summery salad Susan...I love adding fruits to my green salad...and the strawberry vinaigrette just sound so delicious and pretty...thanks for the recipe...I will definitely give this a try. I hope you are having a lovely week!

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    1. Even though spring has been chilly so far, this salad makes me feel like it's summery :) thank you, Juliana!!

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  13. That's a beautiful salad. And I loved the idea of growing one's own pea shoots. Thanks for sharing

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    1. They are so much fun to grow and eat! Thank you, Taruna :)

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  14. I love this salad. So pretty and tasty, so many textures. I don't think I've seen a fruited poppy seed dressing. Brilliant. And thank you for not putting a cup of sugar in the dressing!

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    1. I is light and refreshing, Mimi, and you're welcome :)

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  15. It’s not going to be too long until I have garden full of cucumbers and pea shoots, sooo yeah I could definitely see myself making batch after batch of this stunning salad!

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    1. Thank you, Balviner! I also grow cucumbers in the summer and also tomatoes. I'm planning on many delicious salads :)

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