I remember as a young girl the adventure of picking strawberries from a patch the neighbors had growing in their yard; it was small, so was I, and the haul was miniscule, too, but it was one of the highlights of spring for me.
And one of my favorite uses of strawberries is in a fresh dinner salad. One night I had one of those "Let's see what I've got" moments and this was so delicious it has to be remembered and done again!
Warm the vinegar in a small saucepan until it starts to simmer. Add the brown sugar. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by ½. Add ¼ cup of the reduction to 1 cup of olive oil (or to taste) in a bowl and whisk to blend. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Melt the butter in a small frying pan over low heat. Add the pecans and brown sugar. Cook until the mixture is caramelized, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes. Spread out on waxed paper to cool.
Fill 4 salad bowls with fresh spinach leaves. Layer the chicken on top of the spinach. Scatter the strawberries and caramelized pecans on top of salad. Crumble the goat cheese on top and drizzle with balsamic reduction dressing, to taste.