Food and Drink

Celebrate Alaska’s late-summer bounty with this strawberry and spinach salad

This is the time of year when I’m frantically trying to make the most of ripe, sweet local produce, especially strawberries and tomatoes that are abundant at the farmer’s markets. Eaten by the handful can only go so far, so lately I’ve been tossing them into smoothies — strawberries plus oat milk plus ice plus 1 medjool date, for added sweetness as needed plus a dash of vanilla — and simple syrups as well as smashing them into vinaigrettes for salads. Try with spinach and other tender leaves, such as beet or chard. Make-ahead candied pecans add texture and crunch. As to the greens, there’s nothing worse than a “tired” soggy salad, so take some time to thoroughly dry the greens — a salad spinner is best for this task. Otherwise, rinse greens and drain well; roll in paper towels or a clean dishcloth and place in fridge until ready to use. Enjoy as is or top with soft-boiled egg, crispy bacon, leftover chicken, grilled fish or other favorite vegetables. — Kim Sunée

Strawberry and spinach salad with candied pecans

Makes 4 servings

About 6 cups fresh tender spinach or mixed greens, washed and thoroughly dried

1 cup ripe sungold or other favorite tomatoes

Optional additions: soft-boiled egg; croutons; roasted vegetables; roasted/grilled fish or chicken; seared blackened tofu

For the strawberry vinaigrette:


2 large ripe strawberries, finely minced/smashed

2 tablespoons minced shallot or spring onion

2 to 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard, such as Maille or Amora

Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar, apple cider or balsamic vinegar

1/4 to 1/3 cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish

Optional addition: pomegranate molasses

• Add strawberries to a small mixing bowl and mash with a fork or use a mortar and pestle. Add shallot, mustard, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Using a whisk or fork, slowly drizzle in olive oil until well-combined. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more oil or vinegar, salt, etc., as needed.

For the candied pecans:

1/3 cup brown sugar, preferably light

2 tablespoons water

2 cups pecan halves

1/2 teaspoon salt, preferably flake such as Maldon or Sitka Flake salt

Pinch cayenne

Pinch cinnamon (optional)

• Prepare a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Set a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar and water; let melt until bubbling, carefully swirling pan as water and sugar melt together. Once bubbling, add pecan halves and stir thoroughly to coat. Cook, stirring 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant and most of the liquid has evaporated but be careful not to burn. Spread pecans in a single layer on parchment-lined sheet pan, separating pecans quickly with a fork or tongs. Let pecans sit at room temp for at least one hour, until cooled set and only slightly sticky. Once completely cooled, pecans can be stored in an airtight container at room temp for up to one week and in the fridge for two weeks.

Kim Sunée

Kim Sunée is a bestselling author ("Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home," "A Mouthful of Stars," "Everyday Korean: Fresh, Modern Recipes for Home Cooks") and a former magazine food editor. She's based in Anchorage. For more food and travel, visit