- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 1, 2004

I don’t know about you, but I’m appalled at the price of a nice salad these days. A salad such as the recipe I share here is going for nearly $8 at my favorite sandwich shop in Nashville, Tenn. This is Nashville, mind you, not New York City.

Thanks to the greatest convenience food in stores today — the humble salad bag — this recipe is not only thrifty, but a snap to prepare as well. You can easily create a wonderful main-dish salad at home for a fraction of the price.

This recipe contains the essential components of a truly great salad: something sweet, strawberries; something salty, blue cheese; and something crunchy, nuts. Plus a drizzle of drop-dead sesame vinaigrette you make by doctoring ordinary Italian salad dressing.

Add a piece of fried chicken or a fillet of poached fish, good bread and a glass of wine, and you have a dinner fit for a queen or king. Cheers to the home cook for being so clever.

TIME-SHAVING TIPS

• Instead of washing and hulling fresh strawberries, add chopped fruit from a supermarket fruit cup or salad bar, such as pineapple, blueberries and melon.

• Don’t like blue cheese? Add crumbled feta.

• For a bigger flavor, toast the pecans in a 350-degree oven for 5 minutes.

• Forgo making your own vinaigrette; just use a good bottled oil and vinegar.

• Assemble the salad in the morning, then cover and chill, keeping the dressing separate until serving time.

Strawberry field salad

The preparation time is 10 minutes.

1 5-ounce bag spring mix salad greens

1 cups (about 1 pint) strawberries, halved

cup prechopped walnuts or pecans

1/4 cup (2 ounces) precrumbled blue cheese

SESAME VINAIGRETTE:

1/4 cup Italian salad dressing

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

teaspoon dark sesame oil

Place spring mix in a large serving bowl, and top it with the strawberries, nuts and blue cheese. Cover it with plastic wrap, and chill up to a day ahead. For the vinaigrette, pour salad dressing into a small mixing bowl, and whisk in the honey, soy sauce and sesame oil. Drizzle over the salad and serve. Makes 3 main dish servings.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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