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Strew strawberries into main-dish salads

Another week or so of locally grown strawberries should be in the forecast.

That’s according to Amber Fry, who manages Fry Family Farm Store in Medford. The berries have reveled in cooler temperatures and late-season precipitation, she says.

Although temperatures are rising sharply, the sunshine should ripen berries left on the bushes. Fry and other local farmers charge about $4 per pint.

Of course, anyone growing their own strawberries, particularly ever-bearing varieties, can expect to harvest intermittently throughout the summer. While ever-bearing berries do stall in the hottest weather, they often come back on in September.

With a trip planned to Thursday’s Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market in Medford, I’m making the most of locally grown strawberries — augmented with my home-grown berries — while I can. A main-dish salad with avocado or cheese and nuts is one of my favorites.

The concept is similar to this recipe from Tribune News Service, which calls for blue cheese. But you could use fresh mozzarella, goat cheese or feta.

Similarly, any nut — toasted or candied — works here. Recipe testers for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cite prepackaged honey-roasted nuts. I personally love toasted pine nuts, walnuts or pecans.

And while I’m sensitive to the sulfites in red onion, this trick of soaking them beforehand really removes much of the bite.

Find more recipes for peak-season strawberries in my latest food section column.

Tribune News Service photo

Strawberry-Spinach Salad

For salad:

1/2 small red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced into half moons

4 cups baby spinach or spinach-arugula mix

1 quart local strawberries, hulled and quartered

1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola

3/4 cup toasted pecans, walnuts or honey roasted almonds

2 cooked chicken breasts, sliced thin on diagonal

For dressing:

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 small shallot, peeled and thinly sliced

1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place the sliced red onion in a small bowl and cover with cold water.

To prepare dressing, place the vinegar, honey, shallot, poppy seeds, mustard and olive oil in a mason jar, screw on lid and shake vigorously to combine ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper; set aside while composing salad.

In a large salad bowl, place the greens along with a pinch of salt; toss with your fingers to combine. Add the quartered strawberries. Drain onions and add to bowl. Add the crumbled cheese and chicken, then drizzle with about 1/2 of salad dressing (or more, depending on how well-dressed you like your salads).

Toss salad, making sure all of greens are nicely coated with dressing. Garnish with the nuts and serve.

Serve with extra dressing on the side.

Makes 4 servings.