Monday, 14 April 2008

No croutons at all

This month's theme in Lisa and Holler's No Croutons Required event is mushrooms. Yay! I am pleased about this. In fact, there are so many brilliantly themed blog events coming up that I am going to have to re-set my running level of enthusiasm for fear of exhausting my readers.

Much as I love mushrooms, mushroom soup is not actually up there on my list of best dishes. I pretty much never order it when we're out as it's so often a disappointingly un-mushroomy bowl of scented cream. At home I do have two mushroom soups I like to make, but one is really a squash soup with marinated mushrooms floated on top, and the other is mushroom and barley, which has appeared quite a bit in blogland recently already. Luckily, Lisa and Holler have broadened this month's requirements, however, so that it can be either soup or salad. When faffing about on Cooking Light for some completely other reason that I can't even remember now, I found an interesting-sounding recipe for strawberry and poppy seed salad, which I decided to adapt as a vehicle for mushrooms.

It was very easy. Quite anti-climactic after all that wittering really, but its taste was wonderfully complex. It was basically sliced strawberries and flaked almonds on a bed of leaves, with a sweet poppy seed dressing drizzled over the top. I used Hampshire watercress (of which more soon, I hope) which I'd picked up at the central Oxford farmer's market last week when my work coincided with its day for the first time ever. I left out the almonds on my portion, but grilled some sliced mushrooms in the George Foreman (just for ease, since we were already cooking other things on the stove-top) and scattered them over the watercress with the sliced strawberries. And I made the dressing as written below.

It looked great - all that lovely green watercress, bright pink strawberries and poppy-seed dotted dressing. It tasted great - crisp, slightly bitter cress, cold moist strawberries, ever-delightful mushroom, and both crunch and sweetness from the dressing. AND, it was a doddle to make. The dressing was really quite sweet - you could easily cut back on the sugar quite a bit, but it really made the salad. Poppy seeds really seem to pack a punch of flavour. I've only ever really had them on bread or in hamentaschen, but I've used them in a pear and seed cake this week as well, and the flavour came through much more than I'd expected from the quantity in that, too.

Next time, history AND food in one event. I may need to lie down for a while before I write that one.

Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing (Cooking Light)


3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fat-free milk
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 (10-ounce) bag romaine lettuce
1 cup sliced strawberries
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted


Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Place lettuce in a large bowl; add strawberries and almonds, tossing to combine. Divide salad evenly among 6 plates. Drizzle 1 tablespoon dressing over each serving.


6 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 78(35% from fat); FAT 3.3g (sat 0.4g,mono 1g,poly 1.6g); PROTEIN 1.8g; CHOLESTEROL 2mg; CALCIUM 53mg; SODIUM 45mg; FIBER 1.8g; IRON 0.8mg; CARBOHYDRATE 11.5g


Lisa said...

What an inspired recipe. I will have to try this. Thanks very much for your entry.

LisaRene said...

Beautiful photo! I always enjoy cold salads with a warm element to them and use my George Foreman grill often :)

I am still waiting for inspiration to come to me regarding this roundup. Funny what you wrote about soup because the only mushroom soup I have ever made is mushroom and barley and I submitted it to a different roundup a few months back. It will be interesting to see how many original mushroom soup recipes will be included in the roundup.

Johanna said...

Strawberries and poppy seeds sounds like such a perfect combination in a salad (or in anything!)

Ilana said...

you've bought a special food displaying plate haven't you?