You know what goes great with tomatoes? Yep, basil and balsamic vinegar, and perhaps a bit of mozzarella. And, do you know what goes great with strawberries? Yep, a bit of basil and balsamic vinegar, and perhaps a bit of cream. When we realized that tomatoes and strawberries pair well with essentially the same ingredients, we figured they should go together naturally, so we came up with the idea of a Strawberry Tomato Salad.
Now, we fully admit that we just gave away pretty much the entire recipe in the first paragraph, especially for anyone who’s used to scratchin’ up his or her own salads on a regular basis, but, if you need a little more information, we’ll give it.
This is a pretty minimalist salad, just a few bare-bones ingredients, so each one needs to be able to shine. That means use the best you can. The strawberries that have come in have been quite flavorful, so that works for us, although we would think it be even better with strawberries we picked fresh. The tomatoes came from our CSA, and we selected the ripest. We suggest that you head down to your local farmers’ market for your tomatoes, unless you grow them yourself. We used a flaky, grey, sea salt that we keep on hand for those special dishes, but a little kosher would work, too. The difficultly lies in selecting the Balsamic vinegar and olive oil. We’re lucky enough to be able to get extra-virgin olive oil from Queen Creek Olive Mill; we like it, plus, it’s locally produced. You should try to seek out a good-tasting olive oil for your salad by tasting a variety of oils until you find one you like — yes, extra-virgin olive has flavor, a lot of flavor. For the Balsamic vinegar, we use Trader Joe’s Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, or, as they like to advertise it: Trader Giotto’s Gold Aceto Balsamico di Modena. We find it’s pretty good for the price point (some aged balsamic vinegars are very pricey). Again, try a few until you find one you like, as the quality is all over the map.
Procedure in detail:
Well, there’s really not a lot of detail needed for making this salad, it’s basically combine and serve, but we’ll put up a few photos, anyway.
This salad is nice and refreshing on a hot summer day: the vinegar gives it a sweet-tart flavor that matches the sweet and tartness of the strawberries and tomatoes. And, the basil adds just that bit of herb flavor that keeps it interesting. An easy four stars.