Fruit Salad with Fig-Vanilla Balsamic Vinaigrette

I’m entering this recipe in a contest the Virginian-Pilot, our local newspaper is having – they’re looking for recipes that use fresh, tasty strawberries, since they’re in season now.

Last year, I visited my sister and her family in Temecula, Calif., and we went to The Temecula Olive Oil Company for an olive-oil tasting. They also had flavored balsamic vinegars for tasting, and as soon as I tried this fig-vanilla balsamic, I knew I had to have some.

After we got back home, I made up this recipe, and it’s wonderful, if I do say so myself. My mint is bursting out now, too, so it’s definitely time to make it again.

Fruit Salad with Fig-Vanilla Balsamic Vinaigrette
Serves 2

1/2 cup hulled and quartered strawberries
1/2 cup diced cantaloupe
4 California Mission figs, sliced
1/2 cup diced feta cheese
1 tbsp. fig-vanilla balsamic vinegar, or regular balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. fruity extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. chopped fresh mint, plus 2 sprigs for garnish
3 cups chopped or torn romaine lettuce

Combine fruit and cheese in a medium bowl. Place vinegar in a small bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Whisking constantly, drizzle EVOO into the bowl. Stir mint into dressing. Pour the dressing over the fruit and cheese and let stand 10 minutes. Divide romaine between two salad plates and serve fruit and cheese mixture over romaine. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Fruit salad with fig-vanilla balsamic vinaigrette

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