Strawberry arugula salad

Strawberry Arugula Salad with Shaved Fennel, Crunchy Quinoa and Strawberry Sauce


  • 4 handfuls (4oz) Arugula
  • 1 head Fennel
  • 2 pints Strawberries
  • 1 Shallot
  • 1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 2 cups Cooked Multi-colored Quinoa
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • Salt to Taste
  • 4 sprigs Arugula flowers

To make the Balsamic Vinaigrette:

  • 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Shallot, minced
  • t.t Salt

Soak the shallots in the Balsamic vinegar for 20 minutes then whisk in the oil. Season to taste.

To make the strawberry sauce:

  • 1 pint Strawberries
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1/4 cup Sugar

Bring the water and sugar to a boil then cook for five minutes, remove from the heat and let it cool. Puree the strawberries in a blender with the syrup until smooth.

To make the quinoa crisps (can substitute toasted pine nuts if desired):

  • 2 cups Cooked multi-colored quinoa
  • 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette

Mix the quinoa with the vinaigrette and spread out as thin as possible on a well greased sheet pan. Bake at 350º for approximately 20 minutes, or until it has completely hardened. You have to be careful because it will burn quickly after it becomes hard.

To assemble the salad:

  • 4 handfuls (4oz) Arugula, washed
  • 1 head Fennel, shaved
  • 1 pint Strawberries, diced
  • 4 sprigs Arugula flowers

Toss the arugula with the shaved fennel and diced strawberries in a bowl.

Begin to drizzle 4 tbsp of balsamic vinaigrette and the same amount of strawberry sauce, toss to completely coat the greens. Salt heavily to taste. Add more dressing if necessary.

Use the remainder of the vinaigrette and strawberry sauce to drizzle on the plate. Place one handful of the tossed salad over the drizzled sauce. Use pieces of the hardened quinoa to decorate over the salad and on the plate. Garnish with flowers.


About Thomas Martinez:
Thomas Martinez, 23, credits a passion for food, art and the science of nutrition as the guiding force in his culinary career. An artist at heart, Martinez found his first creative outlet through cuisine and entered the California Culinary Academy (CCA) when he graduated from high school.

Upon graduation, Martinez was offered an internship at Greens Restaurant in San Francisco where he learned from Executive Chef Annie Somerville to improve his palate and gained an appreciation for the preparation of organic vegetarian cuisine. Simultaneously, he dove deeper into his culinary life with work at Heirloom Organic Gardens in the Ferry Building Marketplace.

After Greens, Martinez went on to Aziza in San Francisco where he worked with Executive Chef Mourad Lahlou, who would become his greatest mentor. Martinez then accepted a Sous Chef position at Roots Restaurant in San Francisco where he assisted in developing the contemporary American menu, and managed preparation programs and the restaurant's catering operations. This job primed him perfectly to accept another Sous Chef position, this time at Mission Beach Café.

With the support of Mission Beach Café owners Bill Clarke and Executive Pastry Chef Alan Carter, Martinez quickly worked his way up the ladder to Executive Chef. He created a menu strictly using farmer's market organic produce and sustainably raised meat and seafood. Martinez's changes spoke directly to the needs of his neighborhood and the restaurant was awarded "Best Brunch" by 7x7 San Francisco magazine and remained an OpenTable "Diner's Choice" and "Neighborhood Gem" throughout Martinez's tenure. Feeling the call of exploration and seeking a break from daily restaurant work, Martinez moved on from Mission Beach Café to accept a chef position with private chef Jeffrey Lawton. With Chef Lawton, Martinez found inspiration in the Slow Food movement and created many of their dishes based on alternative nutrition, using the opportunity to explore and learn about what makes Bay Area resources so unique.

It is this deep reverence for the finest local produce and nutrition that compelled Bill Clarke to ask Martinez to return when the position of Executive Chef again became available at Mission Beach Café in December 2008.

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