Lettuce with Fresh and Roasted Strawberries and Avocado
Recipe and photograph contributed by Simona Carini
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 3 minutes
A refreshing springtime salad. It’s excellent even without arugula, so don't let the absence of (or dislike for) that ingredient deter you from trying it. If you omit the arugula, however, use an extra ounce of butter lettuce and proceed with the rest of the recipe as indicated. Allow additional time to oven-roast the strawberries early enough so that they are no longer warm by the time you use them for the salad.
8 ounces butter lettuce (about 4 cups)
1 ounce arugula (about ¼ large bunch)
3 to 4 tablespoons sliced almonds
3 ounces Oven-Roasted Strawberries plus ½ ounce roasted strawberry juice (about ¼ cup berries with juice)
1 ripe medium Hass avocado
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
3½ ounces fresh strawberries
- Separate the lettuce leaves, place them in a bowl of cold water and swirl them around to clean them well. Drain and repeat. Drain and inspect the leaves to ensure they are free of dirt. Place them into a salad spinner and spin until dry. Wash and drain the arugula in the same fashion.
- Chop the lettuce and arugula and place them in a salad bowl.
- Set a dry skillet over medium heat, add the almonds, spread them out in a single layer, and toast for 2 to 3 minutes, shaking the skillet to ensure even coloring. This step takes only a few minutes, so do not get distracted or you will end up with charred almonds. Remove from the heat.
- Purée the roasted strawberries and their juice with an immersion blender, or in a food processor.
- Peel, core (see Kitchen Tip) and dice the avocado in a small bowl and mash it coarsely with a small fork. Immediately add the lemon juice and salt and mash some more, until you have a dense cream with a bit of texture from the remaining bits of avocado.
- Distribute dollops of mashed avocado on the chopped salad and mix. I do this with my clean hands, which I have found to be the most delicate and precise of salad tongs. Pour the puréed strawberries on the salad and toss—this time using tongs.
- Wash, hull and slice the fresh strawberries.
- Scatter the sliced almonds and sliced fresh strawberries on the salad, toss again and serve.
The avocado contains a large round pit that can be awkward to remove. Here is one way that is especially good if you need to slice it: With a sharp knife, cut around the avocado lengthwise (you won’t be able cut straight through because of the pit). With a hand on each half, twist the halves in opposite directions to detach them. The pit will still be firmly attached to one side. Carefully dig the blade (not the tip) of your knife into the pit and twist to remove the pit. Peel and slice the avocado. If you will be holding the avocado for any length of time, acidulate the flesh with a little lemon or lime juice to prevent it from turning brown when exposed to the air.