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Strawberry-Kumquat Salad

This innovative salad is the creation of Sean Baker, Executive Chef at Gather restaurant in Berkeley, who draws inspiration from local farmers and ranchers. Combining strawberries, kumquats, arugula and fava shoots with crunchy almonds, the dish is finished with a sprinkling of vanilla-infused sea salt. If you can't find fava shoots, use an additional 1/2 lb. arugula.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. minced shallots
  • 1/4 cup golden balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. almond oil
  • 2 Tbs. sea salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 lb. arugula
  • 1/2 lb. fava shoots, stemmed
  • 1/3 lb. strawberries, trimmed and quartered
  • 1/3 lb. kumquats, thinly sliced and seeds removed
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh mint

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 375°F.

Spread the almonds out on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until toasted, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.

In a small bowl, whisk together the shallots, vinegar, a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste. Add the olive oil and almond oil in a slow stream, whisking until well combined. Set the dressing aside.

Put the sea salt in a bowl. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and, using the back of the knife, scrape the seeds into the bowl; discard the pod. Using your fingers, mash the salt and vanilla seeds to fully mix them together. (You will not need all of the salt for this recipe; store the remaining salt in an airtight container for later use.)

In a large bowl, toss together the arugula, fava shoots, strawberries, kumquats, mint and almonds. Add enough dressing to coat lightly and toss again. Adjust the seasoning with vanilla salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Recipe by Sean Baker, Executive Chef, Gather, Berkeley, CA.