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Summery Berry & PoppySeed Salad Dressed with Morrocan Olive Oil & Fennel Seed

Strawberrry Poppyseed Salad

I define the adage ‘living under pressure.’ Really, I do. I was in Mexico last week, on a writers’ trip, enjoying a wonderful stay at the Valentin Maya Imperial, about 40 minutes from Cancun, nestled in the Maya Riviera. I was supposed to be there relaxing and taking it all in.

Well not so much! I was also working! As I started packing for my trip at midnight, I realized I hadn’t made a seasonal salad I was inspired to make and committed to write about for this blog.  I had to be up at 6, so I made room in my suitcase and packed my goodies from Dean & DeLucathat were going to top off mi ensalada. Somehow I was just going to wing it in paradise. And I did just that.

As my fellow travelers and I enjoyed a nice Italian dinner, my mind wandered off, conjuring up a way to get the chef at the blue clad IL Olivo restaurant to allow me to make my salad in his kitchen with his ingredients.

Typical Mexican hospitality was served, and Executive Chef Lorenzo rolled out the red carpet for me. I asked him for berries, romaine lettuce, pecans and poppyseed. Then, I pulled out my Dean & DeLuca ingredients to make the dressing, and the chef shot me a surprised look! Thank goodness I speak Spanish and was able to explain to him what I was trying to accomplish. How quickly that changed his pace! I wanted to use my own olive oil and fennel seeds that would go perfectly with his pretty strawberries. He didn’t even have fennel and actually gave me the impression that he didn’t know what it is. I told him the word in Spanish and still no clue. I think I taught him something new!

Within 5 minutes, I had a tray with all the ingredients, and I got to work. In 10 minutes, I ended up with a perfect summery salad with crunch, intoxicating aroma, and luxurious lemony cream juxtaposed with smooth and sweet olive oil by Les Terroirs de Marrakech. The olive oil really did it. Not all olive oils are made equal. The contents of this beautiful black bottle will end up in all my salads and tomato sandwiches; I’ll use it for searing fish and maybe, just maybe, I’ll share it with my traveling friend who fell in love with its taste.

Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

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Berry PoppySeed Salad with Fennel & Olive Oil


  • 3 cups Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. Les Terroirs de Marrakech olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 green apple, sliced (for garnish)
  • 2 tbsp. pecans
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. poppyseed
  • 1 tsp. fennel seed


In a small bowl, mix cream and lemon and balsamic vinegar. Whip until it lightly peaks. Cover and set aside. On a serving plate, add lettuce, strawberries, pecans, poppyseed, fennel seed and mix together. Drizzle lemon cream over salad first, then complete dressing with olive oil*. Garnish with sliced apple swirl if desired.

* Alternatively, you can infuse the olive oil with fennel and poppyseed by mixing them well. Let sit for a few days, then use.

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