Chef Rob Dumas will be offering summer recipes from his collection that feature Real Maine seasonal ingredients. Strawberries are the highlight of the first recipe. Strawberries will be available to pick your own or purchase fresh at your local farm, farmer’s market, or grocery store in Maine in June and early July. From fresh-picked strawberries to strawberry pies and shortcakes, to strawberry sundaes, connect with farms, food, and agriculture and plan your summer berry recipes and experiences with Real Maine.
Look for raspberry and blueberry recipes later this summer, when they are ready to be picked. Remember, though – fresh Maine berries can be frozen and enjoyed all year!
Chef Dumas is the food science innovation coordinator and facility manager for the School of Food and Agriculture at the University of Maine. In addition, he works as part of the UMaine Cooperative Extension and the Office of Strategic Partnerships, Innovation, Resources and Engagement. He is a Certified Executive Chef through the American Culinary Federation and a U.S. Navy veteran. After five years as a cook aboard the submarine USS Oklahoma, Chef Dumas joined the Presidential Food Service, serving as a chef in the White House Navy Mess during the first Obama administration.
Chef Dumas says, “Early summer is always made sweeter by the arrival of local strawberries. I love to think about strawberries outside of their typical dessert roles. Here I feature them with another farm favorite, fresh spinach. This salad is inspired by the classic Italian Caprese.”
Spinach Salad with Strawberries
YIELD: 3-4 SERVINGS
1 lb. fresh spinach, washed and trimmed
1 lb. Maine strawberries, washed trimmed, and sliced
4 oz. fresh basil, washed and trimmed of stems
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced
4 oz. chopped almonds or hazelnuts, toasted until fragrant
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
Balsamic vinegar to taste (my preference is an aged balsamic that is thicker; balsamic glaze is a good substitute)
Coarse sea salt and pepper to taste
1. Divide the spinach over four plates or shallow bowls.
2. Top spinach with remaining ingredients.
3. Drizzle salad with olive oil and balsamic.
4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (I like a generous amount of salt and pepper).
Optional: add grilled chicken for an entrée salad.
Real Maine is the state’s official agriculture and agritourism promotions program. From flowers to berries to ice cream sundaes, plan your Real Maine summer agricultural experience. Visit www.RealMaine.com to connect to farms, food, and agriculture throughout Maine.