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Springtime Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad

I anticipate strawberries all year. And the Farmers Markets are finally brimming with them. The first fruit of the year, strawberries signifiy spring, new beginnings, and everything that's good. There are so many ways of eating strawberries. The simplest is right off the vine! But strawberries can be used very creatively, not only in desserts, but in savory dishes, too. This recipe can be served as a side salad or a main course.

Mike Gardner's Springtime Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad This is a great salad for a hot day. Let the strawberries sit long enough to absorb the balsamic vinegar flavor while you take time to catch up with friends and enjoy the summer day. Ingredients For the strawberries:1 pint of ripe strawberries, if they are large, cut them in half1/2-3/4 cup balsamic vinegar For the salad:Baby spinachBaby arugulaGoat cheese crumbles1 small red onion, sliced For the dressing:3 tbsp balsamic vinegar1 tsp dijon mustard1/4-1/2 cup olive oilsalt and pepper to taste DirectionsPrepare the strawberries by placing them into a bowl and add the vinegar. Let them sit for a while to absorb the flavor of the vinegar- an hour or better. This can be done at room temperature.In a separate bowl. make the dressing by combining the vinegar, dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Slowly stream in the olive oil, tasting for flavor balance. If necessary, add additional mustard to taste.When ready to serve, combine equal parts of baby spinach and arugula. Add in the sliced red onion, and lightly toss the salad with a small amount of dressing, adding more as necessary slowly dressing the salad as to not drench it all at once. Add the goat cheese crumbles. Lastly, plate the salad onto a chilled serving plate. Using a slotted spoon, remove the strawberries from the vinegar and place them on top of the greens. Finally, top with fresh ground pepper and serve.