This makes a pretty and colorful composition. Shop at your farmers market to find young or early onions, bacon, arugula, lemon thyme and strawberries.
The salad is substantial enough on its own, but feel free to top it with croutons or crostini, or serve with crusty bread.
You'll have leftover gastrique, which can be used to dress green salads, fruit salads or even grilled chicken.
Make Ahead: The strawberry gastrique can be made and refrigerated a day in advance.
Servings: 4 appetizer servings
- For the gastrique
- 8 medium strawberries, hulled
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2/3 cup canola oil
- 1/4 teaspoon minced lemon thyme
- For the onions and salad
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed with the flat side of a knife
- 2 young onion (about 3 ounces each), any green tops removed and onions cut in half lengthwise
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 sprigs lemon thyme
- 2 cups baby arugula (may substitute other tender market greens)
- 6 ounces thick-cut dry-cured bacon, sauteed until crisp, fat discarded
- Aged Gouda cheese, shaved, for garnish
For the gastrique: Coarsely chop half of the strawberries and cut the remaining berries into 1/4-inch dice.
Combine the sugar, wine and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring to a boil and cook until the liquid has reduced by half. Add the coarsely chopped strawberries, which will release liquid; cook until it has reduced by half. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a stainless-steel bowl and discard the cooked berries; you should have about 1/4 cup of liquid. Whisk in the oil, then the thyme and finally the diced strawberries. Cover and refrigerate.
For the onions and salad: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat the oil in an ovenproof medium saute pan or skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, stir in the garlic and add the halved onions, cut side down. Reduce the heat and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, then turn the onions over and add the thyme sprigs. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 6 to 10 minutes or until the onions are tender but not mushy.
Let the gastrique sit at room temperature for 15 minutes or so and whisk to recombine.
Thinly slice the onions lengthwise and arrange a small composed pile at the side of individual plates.
Toss together the arugula, bacon and a tablespoon of the gastrique in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the greens on the plates next to the onions. Drizzle each serving with the gastrique, garnish with the cheese and serve.
Adapted from a recipe by Peter H. Smith, executive chef-owner of PS 7's.
Tested by Jeff Donald.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.