Sample the Taste of Summer

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Posted: Monday, July 28, 2014 1:00 am | Updated: 3:33 am, Mon Jul 28, 2014.

(Family Features) Summer is peak strawberry season and the perfect time to enjoy one of America's favorite fruits.

While available year-round, California strawberries are most plentiful from May through August with the state producing nearly 90 percent of strawberries grown in the entire country. Not only are strawberries delicious, these pretty red gems also offer many health benefits. In fact, eating just eight medium size strawberries a day may improve heart and brain health, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of some cancers.

Sweet additions

California strawberries are versatile, making them ideal additions to summer dishes.

"Fresh, seasonal ingredients bring flavorful bursts to recipes at my restaurants and home," said Brian Malarkey, celebrity chef, restaurateur and spokesperson for the California Strawberry Commission. "I love incorporating the natural taste of strawberries in both sweet and savory dishes for an unexpected hint of sweetness."

From fresh fish and salads to lemonade and even barbecue sauce, just add strawberries to give any meal scrumptious summer flavor. For additional recipes by Chef Malarkey and more, visit www.californiastrawberries.com

Summer Loving Strawberry & Watermelon Salad

Recipe: Summer Loving Strawberry & Watermelon Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quartered and cleaned California strawberries
  • 2 cups diced watermelon (yellow and red, if available)
  • 1/4 cup sliced fresh basil
  • 1 handful arugula
  • Sherry vinaigrette (see recipe below)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup candied walnuts or pecans
  • 1/3 cup blue or goat cheese
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses or balsamic syrup
Sherry vinaigrette:
  • 1/2 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 shallot, cut in half and sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Preparation:

  1. To make vinaigrette, bring sherry vinegar and honey to a boil in small sauce pan. In small mixing bowl, pour hot sherry mixture over shallots and let cool to room temperature. Once cooled, whisk olive oil with shallots and add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. In a large mixing bowl add strawberries, watermelon, basil and arugula. Gently add drizzle of mixed vinaigrette over strawberries, watermelon, basil and arugula mixture. Toss and season with salt and pepper, plate on desired serving platter or into bowls, then top with nuts, cheese and syrup to serve.

4 servings

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