Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad with Pickled Onions
Just-ripe strawberries and soft, creamy goat cheese are the stars here, so use the best you can find. Farmers’ markets are beautiful this time of year and may have them both waiting just for this dish. If not, check fancy cheese stores or use our hack and lighten a regular log of goat cheese with a little milk or cream. Either way, the pickled onions will stand out and try to steal the show.
See Cook’s Note on goat cheese tips.
for the pickled onions and vinaigrette
Put the thyme, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper in a pint-size jar that has a tight-fitting lid. Close the lid and shake a minute until the honey dissolves. Add the onions, replace the lid, shake and let sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes. Shake again and use a fork to lift out the onions and thyme sprig. Set the onions aside in a small bowl and discard the thyme sprig. Add the olive oil to what’s left in the jar, close the lid and shake to blend.
for the salad
Stir the goat cheese in a small bowl with a rubber spatula to make it creamy. If it is too dry, you can lighten it with some milk or cream.
Toss the lettuce and basil with the vinaigrette in a very large bowl, adding any vinegar that has settled under the reserved onions (don’t let that flavor go to waste). Taste, mix in salt if desired, and portion onto 6 salad plates. Place 1/3 cup strawberries on each bed of greens. Scatter prosciutto on top and add a little pile of pickled onions, discarding any stray stringy skins. Give each plate a dollop of goat cheese, about 2 tablespoons, and garnish with a heaping teaspoon of pistachios. Serve immediately.
Goat cheese starts to dry out once it’s opened so use a fresh new package. Or, lighten the cheese and make it more spreadable by folding in a few teaspoons of cream or whole milk with a spoon or rubber spatula. Start with a few drops and add slowly – you don’t want it too runny.
For the vinaigrette, you don’t need to go out and buy canning jars. Wash and reuse the ones your peanut butter or mayonnaise comes in and keep them on hand.