This salad is gorgeous and really summer on a plate. It's the result of combining the simplest, ripest, in-season ingredients to create one of the most swoon worthy summer salads. One that you might make over and over again it's that good!
What I love about this salad is that the strawberries really play a back seat to the tomatoes. They actually enhance the sweetness of the tomatoes, even sort of mirroring them rather than making the salad seem dessert-sweet.
At first glance you may think that this salad is a bit complicated. It's not just a matter of chopping up vegetables and putting them in a bowl. It's toasting olive oil drizzled bread (2 minutes), slicing golden shallots and then soaking them in water (1 minute) and mashing ripe strawberries (1 minute) but the rest is barely more than that.
It's roughly based on one I found in the book Lisboeta by Nuno Mendes. Truthfully I dislike the idea of strawberry in a salad. I've seen it at a few restaurants where strawberries are added to a green salad and it tastes a little odd. All you taste are the strawberries.
However as fate would have it, I had a lot of tomatoes from another recipe shoot and a punnet of strawberries that I needed to use up. I also added some cannellini beans to add texture and protein to this and make it a more complete dish.
Normally I'd recommend some short-cuts but in this case please soak the shallots to mellow them out, do add the croutons as they add a lovely crunch and last but not least, the mashed strawberry and balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing is superb. It's one of my "dinner party salads" i.e. salads that are tasty, pretty and low key fancy enough to serve to people. You're never too old to be corrected and in this case, strawberries in a salad absolutely work!
So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever had strawberries in a salad? Is there a food that you've changed your mind about?