Wonderful walnut, endive, and strawberry salad

The marriage of strawberries and balsamic vinegar is now legendary…old hat even. But who cares about old hat – if it tastes good, that all we need. There’s a whole raft of sixties food, dubbed old hat by those whose opinion is a bit suspect – but the prawn cocktail, the black forest gâteau, not to mention the steak with blue cheese sauce, are all still going strong, enjoyed by many who weren’t even born in the sixties, just like the Rolling Stones….

Nevertheless there’s always room for a bit of creativity, and this salad is a twist on the strawberries and balsamic vinegar combo. The endive and the walnuts are both a bit bitter; while the strawberries are sweet.  You could substitute pecans for walnuts (go here for the main differences)

If any of the strawberries is starting to go a bit mushy, you can hull, and mush with a fork and add to the dressing.

I love to use a mature pecorino with this, but, here in Sardinia it’s not hard to find. A good Parmigiana or Grana Padano (go here to discover the difference) also goes well. The nuttiness of the cheese echoes the walnuts and oil rather effectively.

An interesting experiment might be to snip over a few basil leaves.

Why I end up always making double the amount of dressing – it’s the main event!

This goes excellently with salami (better with salami than with prosciutto curiously) and crusty bread, in which case you will definitely need to double the amount of dressing to be mopped up – the dressing is almost the best part!

You can lay this salad out artistically (as in the picture) for a bit of prissy WOWness. Or you can simply chop the endive up and throw everything together into a salad bowl… if you do this, again you will need more dressing.

Convenient package sizes if you are making this for three people

If you are making this for three people the chances are that you will have an 80g pack of parmesan pieces; a 200g punnet of strawberries; and an additional not so big endive. Simply throw the whole lot in (having of course hulled, chopped etc). Add a few extra walnut pieces, make your ½ tsp of nigella seeds into a very generous one. You will definitely need at least double the amount of dressing.

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