I just can’t walk away from a table full of summer strawberries. On my way to summer camp pick-up, I stopped in the small town at the base of the foothills for an iced coffee and a few minutes of catch-up on the computer. Next door, a tiny farmer’s market was setting up for the afternoon. As I hurried back to the car, I spied out of the corner of my eye, crimson red strawberries and an adorable grandmotherly looking woman sitting with her daughter, sorting and inspecting each berry before it went into a container.
Now that’s what I call quality control.
The berries were organic and certainly not the cheapest ones I had seen at the farmer’s market this summer but with three generations of the same family serving me in that little booth, I just had to buy some. They were truly the sweetest berries I’ve tasted all season, maybe ever. And no, I did not take any pictures, I just enjoyed the brief moment and then drove up the hill for pickup after carefully placing the 3-pack in the back of my car.
Thanks to the California Strawberry Commission, I was able to learn a lot more about strawberries and strawberry farming last fall at a special event at Cotogna restaurant in San Francisco. Not only did Tom Jones of Providence Farms, a strawberry farmer of 28 years speak, but also Cheryl Sternman Rule, who wrote the book RIPE: A Fresh Colorful Approach to Fruit and Vegetables, spoke about her enlightening experience visiting a local farm, and David Grotto, a nutritionist and public speaker spoke about the health benefits of strawberries.
Cotogna prepared us an all-strawberry feast that included a knock-out Campari cocktail, mind-blowing strawberry pizza, soul-satisfying strawberry soup, and several other interesting offerings, all of which stretched our imaginations about when and how you can use strawberries in your cooking.
But for me and my crazy schedule, I often turn to the simplest of recipes, especially when the strawberries are at their peak of flavor. This strawberry salsa fits that description. You need only three ingredients, can prepare it ahead and use it either as an appetizer or a simple dessert topping. Ok - there are blueberries in this version, making it FOUR ingredients, but that was to make it perfectly patriotic for the 4th of July!
Head over to this lovely post on yumivore.com for some more dessert ideas with strawberries and ricotta.
Be sure to visit your favorite farmer’s market this weekend and enjoy the fresh berries while they are at their very best.
What's your favorite way to serve or eat strawberries?
Strawberry Salsa with Fresh Basil and BalsamicBeth Lee
- 16 oz package of fresh strawberries cleaned, chopped into ¼ dice
- ¼ cup roughly chopped basil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar approx
- pinch of salt and pepper if you like
- Combine strawberries, basil, and balsamic and salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
- Let sit for an hour or more before serving with goat cheese and crackers as an appetizer.
- Add some mint (or even substitute it entirely for the basil) and serve this on ricotta soprafina cheese or vanilla ice cream for a simple and fun dessert.
There really is nothing quite like freshly picked organic strawberries! Our season is over here, but I loved it when they showed up at our CSA and the farmer's market. We couldn't get enough of them! Your salsa sounds wonderful...I will definitely be trying it (although I will have to settle for berries at the grocery store right now)!
Though there is nothing like the fresh picked berries - this recipe is perfect for store-bought since the other flavors can make even a mediocre berry shine! Thanks for stopping by!
Strawberries are versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes to add some "sweet". Of course, the best berries to use are fresh, local ones!
love the flavors, it's a beautiful sweet and savory salsa, and thanks for the shout-out Beth!
Thanks Orly - I just love that soprafina ricotta you turned me on to at Whole Foods. Such a rich and lovely base for summer berries.
this looks wonderful and love buying from places like this
I know, it's so satisfying in so many ways, isn't it?
Couscous & Consciousness
What a great little find that strawberry stall was, Beth. I love this combination of flavours. I've had strawberries with balsamic and sugar before as a dessert, but never would have thought to take that in a more savoury direction and add some basil to the combo.
It was so wonderful to meet you the other day - I so enjoyed our time together. How lovely to also get the opportunity to meet your delightful son. I've just done a blog post about our meeting and lunch together.
Take care xo
I loved the post you wrote and also really enjoyed meeting you. Enjoyed talking food, future, past, and everything in between. Can't wait to hear what adventures you have in San Francisco.
Let me know what you think of this strawberry combo when they come back in season in your area!
I make balsamic strawberries but have never added basil, a beautiful fresh touch -
That and some pie crust 🙂
A fabulous summer recipe! Bursting with seasonal flavor and simple to prepare, just what we need to enjoy the bounty of the season!
Little Cooking Tips
Never had strawberries with basil before, sounds really interesting!:) Thank you for sharing Beth!
It's a simple yummy combo - give it a try and thanks for stopping by to say hi!
Looks lovely Beth:) I just had lots of strawberries in Finland,but here in Israel I must wait till end of the year when the strawberry season starts....
Aaah yes, seasons are so different all over - do they grow strawberries in Israel? Or are they imported?
All the strawberries here are grown here and we have a very long season 🙂
Absolutely stunning, Beth! I love this flavor combination - strawberries and basil seem meant for each other. And what a wonderful little stand to stumble upon! I can imagine that these berries are the sweetest ever.
They really were the best berries I ever tasted and I just fell in love with the cute little Japanese grandma sorting berries - it's the little things!
Morgan @ Peaches, Please!
This sounds delicious! I've been so focused on peaches this summer that the strawberries have fallen a little to the wayside, but this has gotten me excited about strawberries again!
And I'd like to spend some more time with peaches. French Fridays is cooking duck with peaches this week - I so want to try that recipe!
Thanks for coming by Morgan!
Although I buy strawberrys constantly I must admit other summer fruits are more my favorites. I.E. blueberries, peaches cantelope etc etc.However they are always in my house and I slice them and serve them mixed with other fruits. Since this recipe is easy to make I will have to try it. How did you come up with the combination of balsamic vinegar and basil?
Caprese salad, for one, and also a few years ago someone made a similar strawberry bruschetta topping. I didn't have the exact recipe so I just experimented.