Recipe: Chef Vivian Howard’s Spring Salad

Vivian Howard is one of the most well-regarded food personalities in our state and beyond.

The owner of Chef & the Farmer restaurant in Kinston, N.C., and star of the award-winning PBS television series “A Chef’s Life,” Vivian shared this recipe with Cary Magazine during a recent interview.

Vivian Howard’s Late-Spring Strawberry Beet Salad

With Lemon Vanilla Vinaigrette, Pecan Pumpkin Seed Crumble, Arugula and Blue Cheese

Serves 4

1 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced into 1/8-inch rings

1 cup roasted red beets, peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch rings

2 cups arugula, watercress or baby kale

1/2 cup lemon vanilla vinaigrette

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup crumbled high quality blue cheese (like Maytag)

2/3 cup spiced pecan pumpkin seed crumble (from the Vivian Howard line, available at Southern Season)

Lemon Vanilla Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons lemon juice

Zest of 1 lemon, grated using a microplane

1/4 vanilla bean, split and scraped

1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon red onion, grated using a microplane

3 teaspoons honey

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup grape seed or other neutrally flavored vegetable oil

Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, honey, Dijon mustard, scraped vanilla seeds as well as the pod, salt, and grated onion. Slowly stream in the oil while whisking. This is best made a day ahead and will keep for up to a week.

Before serving, remove the vanilla pod and shake up the vinaigrette.

Assemble the salad: Just before serving, combine the strawberries, beets, arugula, salt, black pepper, and blue cheese in a medium bowl. Toss gently with all but about 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette, taking care not to beat the salad to death. Gently stack the salad onto a platter. Sprinkle the crumble on top and serve immediately. Drizzle with additional dressing if you wish.

Note: This recipe can be made using canned beets and your favorite brand of simple, crunchy granola. It won’t be quite the same, but it will work.

To read Cary Magazine’s full interview with Vivian Howard, click here.

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