Balsamic Grilled Strawberries and Little Gem Salad with Creamy Mint Dressing

INGREDIENTS:

1 basket of strawberries, calyx removed, and halved tip to base
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 to 1 1/2 cups unpeeled seedless cucumber, cut into 1/4 inch dice
6-8 cups Little Gem lettuce leaves (or Romaine), torn into bite-sized bits
Large flake salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 cup Creamy Mint Dressing, or as needed

METHOD:

Toss the strawberry halves with the sugar and toss to coat. Wait 10 minutes, then toss with the balsamic vinegar and oil. Marinate at least 30 minutes, then skewer so all the cut surfaces are on the same plane. Discard marinade.

Heat a grill, and when hot, be sure the grate is well cleaned and oil it. Grill the strawberry skewers a few minutes per side-just long enough to caramelize them and give grill marks, without cooking them through. Remove from the grill and remove from the skewers as soon as you can.

In a large bowl, toss the lettuce and cucumber with just enough dressing to coat. Divide amongst 4 plates.

Toss the strawberries into the bowl and run them around the inside of the bowl to pick up any remaining dressing. If the bowl is completely dry, add 1 tablespoon dressing before tossing. Scatter the berry halves over the 4 salads and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle moderately with dressing. The idea is the contrast of the cool minty yogurt dressing with the warm fruity tangy caramelized strawberries against the cold crunchy lettuce and cucumbers, so do not over dress the berries.

Serve right away.

YIELD: 4 servings