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Cherry Blossom Festival 2011 & a Cherry Arugula Salad in the Pink

After a long, harsh winter in most of the world, the much anticipated cherry blossom festival – and it sounds like there are several happening within a few weeks of each other – is a welcome reminder that spring actually is coming. Really!

Cherries are virtually synonymous with good summertime eating – if you want to give the season a kick-start, try adding them to salads, muffins, pancakes and smoothies as a reminder of what summer actually tastes like. Their size, sweetness and juiciness makes them particularly well suited to salads – this one is dressed with a bright pink dressing and marries the saltiness of Parmesan cheese with the crunch of pecans and sweet juice of cherries.

Cherry Arugula Salad in the Pink

If you omit the Parmesan you’ll have a fantastic vegan salad. Adapted from BC Tree Fruits

Dressing:
1/2 cup canola or olive oil
1/4 cup rice or red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar
1-2 tsp. grainy mustard
1/4 cup red onion, chopped

Salad:
6 cups arugula or mixed summer greens (add radicchio leaves for added color if desired)
1 cup fresh BC Tree Fruits cherries, pitted and halved
1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted
a block of Parmesan cheese (you’ll only need a bit of it – but in a block, to make curls)

To make the dressing, place all ingredients in blender or food processor and blend until smooth; set aside.

Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. Add dressing just before serving and toss again to coat. Make Parmesan cheese curls by using a vegetable peeler along a block of fresh Parmesan cheese; scatter them over the salad. Serves 4.

Photo credit: BC Tree Fruits

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