One of the best parts of being a Chef in the Finger Lakes is the availability of fresh, seasonal produce grown right here in our region. I love incorporating the local flavors of the season into my dishes, and summer in the Finger Lakes is the perfect opportunity to savor favorites like sweetly ripened berries and light, crisp greens. Indulge at home with this recipe for a classic summertime Bibb & Berries salad, with fresh strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, buttermilk blue cheese, honey roasted sunflower seeds, pickled red onion, and strawberry balsamic vinaigrette.
Honey Roasted Sunflower Seeds
4 cups sunflower seeds
6 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons 10% oil
2 teaspoons salt
Heat honey in small sauce pot over low heat until softened. Remove from heat; add salt, oil, and combine well. In a bowl, combine sunflower seeds with honey mixture and combine well. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper and spread sunflower seeds onto tray in even layer. Place in 350º oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.
Pickled Red Onions
3 red onions, sliced thin on a slicer
2 cups red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
6 tablespoons white sugar
Combine all ingredients except red onions in a small sauce pot and bring to a boil, dissolving the salt and sugar. Pour the hot liquid over the red onions. Let onions come to room temperature; cover, and cool.
Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
2 cups white balsamic vinegar
4 cups 10% oil
1 cup honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons salt
5 garlic cloves
1 small shallot
2 cups strawberries, tops removed & quartered
In blender, combine all ingredients except oil and strawberries. With blender running on high, slowly add oil until fully emulsified. Add strawberries and puree until completely smooth.
To complete the salad for one portion:
7-8 Bibb lettuce leaves torn in bite-sized pieces
3 strawberries, tops removed & quartered
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup blackberries
1/4 cup honey roasted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup buttermilk blue cheese
5-6 slices pickled red onion
4 tablespoons strawberry balsamic vinaigrette
Stack the Bibb lettuce in a small bowl or on a salad plate. Drizzle half the vinaigrette onto the Bibb lettuce. Place the rest of the ingredients on the Bibb lettuce, and finish with the rest of the vinaigrette.