Arugula Salad With Pickled Strawberries, Candied Pistachios and Crumbled Blue Cheese

Menu PartSalad
arugula salad

Chef Michelle Bernstein
Cafe La Trova

Chefs are increasingly pickling fruit not only to preserve it for out-of-season applications, but also to infuse it with more complex flavor. Chef Michelle Bernstein’s instant pickling technique is achieved by pouring a mixture of balsamic vinegar and brown sugar over fresh strawberries and quickly cooling them in the liquid. The berries contrast nicely with the candied pistachios, slightly bitter arugula and pungent blue cheese. 


2 tbsp. granulated sugar

2 tbsp. water

1 cup pistachios, shelled

1 tsp. sea salt

¼ cup + 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, divided

1 tbsp. brown sugar

1 bay leaf

2 cups strawberries, stemmed and quartered

4 cups arugula

¼ cup crumbled blue cheese

½ cup olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In medium saucepan, combine sugar and water; heat until simmering. Toss pistachios into mixture and remove from heat. Spread coated pistachios on baking sheet. Bake 5 to 10 minutes until candied.
  2. Remove pistachios from oven and season immediately with sea salt; cool. Remove pistachios from baking sheet and chop into small pieces; set aside.
  3. In another saucepan, heat ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and bay leaf. Place strawberries into metal bowl set over another bowl filled with ice. Pour hot vinegar mixture over strawberries; allow to cool. When cool, remove strawberries from mixture.
  4. To serve, in large bowl, combine arugula, cheese and strawberries. Toss with olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Divide onto four plates or bowls; top with candied pistachios.

Photo courtesy of American Pistachio Growers

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