Butter Lettuce and Strawberry Salad with Gorgonzola and Candied Sunflower Seed “Croutons”

Butter Lettuce and Strawberry Salad with Gorgonzola and Candied Sunflower Seed "Croutons"

I love salads all year round, but dear lord they just have to be lighter in the summer – otherwise, what’s the point? This is my personal example of the ideal summer salad.

Butter Lettuce and Strawberry Salad with Gorgonzola and Candied Sunflower Seed "Croutons"

Butter lettuce, with which I am more than a tad bit obsessed; sweet, juicy, peak-season strawberries; a tangy cheese to offset the sweetness; a light vinaigrette with just the right balance of heft and tartness; and a good crunch at the end.

Butter Lettuce and Strawberry Salad with Gorgonzola and Candied Sunflower Seed "Croutons"

We should discuss this crunch. I should tell you how delicious it is, how it could probably adorn a bowl of ice cream so beautifully, and how as written it will yield about twice what you need – which means you can make another batch of this salad if you didn’t inhale them all. Big if, by the way. Enjoy this one on a very hot day, seeing as those seem to be afflicting almost everyone right now.

Butter Lettuce and Strawberry Salad with Candied Sunflower Seed "Croutons"

Source: ever so slightly adapted from Home by Bryan Voltaggio

Ingredients:

DRESSING:
2-3 oz. dried strawberries
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1/3 cup white grape juice
Pinch of salt

SUNFLOWER SEED “CROUTONS”:
¼ cup granulated sugar
3 tbs honey
½ tsp salt
1 ¼ cups unsalted raw sunflower seeds
¼ tsp sweet paprika

SALAD:
4 heads butter lettuce
8 oz. fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 tbs olive oil
4 oz. Gorgonzola

Directions:
The night before you want to serve, start the DRESSING: place all the dressing ingredients in a bowl, mix well, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. The next day, put the mixture into the blender. Puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and reserve.
To make the “CROUTONS”: put the sugar, honey, and salt in a heavy-bottomed medium pot. Over medium heat, cook the sugar and honey together until the sugar melts, then add the sunflower seeds. Cook and stir until the sugars caramelize and the seeds become evenly roasted, about 10 minutes. Stir in the paprika. Remove the sunflower seeds from the pan and cool them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. When the seeds cool, break them up into bite-size croutons.
Assemble the SALAD: put the lettuce leaves in a large bowl. Add the fresh strawberries and olive oil. Dress the salad with the dressing, taking care not to overdress it. Toss to combine, then add the sunflower seed croutons and chunk the Gorgonzola on top. Serve immediately.

6 responses to “Butter Lettuce and Strawberry Salad with Gorgonzola and Candied Sunflower Seed “Croutons”

  1. Candied CROUTONS? SIGN ME THE HECK UP! Seriously good lookin’ salad!

  2. I love butter lettuce, too! This salad sounds amazing! I absolutely love the sunflower croutons — delicious and soooo creative!

  3. Wow! This salad sounds amazing. I love the crouton idea. Pinning now to try this weekend.

  4. This looks so good. We love strawberries in our salads. It’s makes them pop. Love the croutons.

  5. I love summer salads that have strawberries! This one looks like a delicious one!

  6. I love salads too! I use to get picked on for eating “rabbit food” in HS but I just love them! Can’t wait to make this one.

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