[17] Balsamic Strawberries with Arugula & Goat Cheese

Cover of How to Cook Everything, Revised Edition by Mark Bittman

In this case, though, rather than arugula I used some lettuce we got from the CSA that resembles butterhead lettuce. That’s not what it is (since they tell us the varieties), but I don’t know which variety they listed it is.

Totally simple recipe, and I’m making it for lunch. I have to admit, it’s pretty cool to be having a lunch nearly totally made out of CSA products.

h2. Ingredients

3 c strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered
1+ tbsp excellent balsamic vinegar, to taste basically

Freshly ground black pepper

4 c arugula leaves (I used some sort of CSA lettuce. It was good.)


1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Note This is a variant of the above recipe, and calls for ~4oz of goat cheese to be crumbled on just before the final toss described below.

h2. Instructions

Toss the strawberries, vinegar & black pepper in a large salad bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. Then add the arugula, sprinkle with salt and toss again. Drizzle with olive oil and toss gently one last time. Taste, adjust seasonings as needed, and serve.

h2. Cooking and Consumption notes

h3. Cooking

Good news was that this was super easy to make, which made it perfect for a mid-day meal. Really, in terms of cooking (“prep”) that’s about all there is to say.

h3. Consumption

I think the proportions in this recipe are probably pretty important. The recipe says it makes four to six servings, so I halved most of the ingredients. I just threw in an amount of lettuce that looked like it would make a lunch-sized salad, and I think that was a mistake. The lettuce was simply not well married with the toppings.

As I type up the recipe, though, it occurs to me that I might have forgotten the salt and oil at the end (that’s the problem with a recipe that looks so simple you think you don’t need to look at the book more than once). So that might also have made the mixing go poorly. Still, I would be pretty careful with the proportions.

Finally, I’m really freakin’ tired of recipes just calling for “goat cheese”.

Dear Cookbook Authors,

Amazing fact of life #376: Goat milk can be processed into a wide variety of different cheeses.

I’m sure that when you write a recipe, you put a little of your soul into it, and you lovingly consider every ingredient and if it’s appropriate to be mixed with ever other ingredient. Thus, I’m quite sure you have a specific “goat cheese” in mind when you use that phrase.

Name it. Seriously, just name it.


In other words, I used chèvre (which seems to be the typical “goat cheese”), but it doesn’t crumble for crap and doesn’t mix in well. Considering other berry salads I’ve had in the past, I’m willing to wager I should have used feta made from goat’s milk. If I’m wrong, I want Bittman to explain how to crumble what is, effectively, a spreadable cheese. And I probably still would have preferred feta.