I had some strawberries that had seen better days. Instead of throwing them out, I blended a couple with balsamic vinegar and olive oil to make a dressing for a tomato and basil salad with strawberry and balsamic dressing. My local producer https://farmerandson.com.au has the sweetest yellow cherry tomatoes at the moment so I used them for this salad. I recommend adding a few finely sliced strawberries. They complement the tomatoes beautifully.
The Strawberry: a false fruit
Did you know that the botanists call the strawberry a “false fruit?” A strawberry is in fact a multiple fruit. It consists of many tiny individual fruits embedded in a fleshy receptacle. The tiny specks, which are commonly considered seeds, are the true fruits. These are called achenes, and each of them surrounds a tiny seed. https://carnegiemuseums.org/magazine-archive/1997/mayjun/dept4.htm
Categorising the tomato as a fruit or a vegetable is also a little complicated. A tomato is a ripened flower ovary containing seeds, which fits the botanical definition of a fruit. Nutritionally, the term “fruit” is used to describe sweet and fleshy botanical fruits, whereas “vegetable” is used to describe edible plant parts which are lower in fructose. The tomato is one such plant. It tends to be used in savoury dishes and therefore, in culinary terms, it’s considered to be a vegetable. https://www.britannica.com/story/is-a-tomato-a-fruit-or-a-vegetable
If you like using fruit in salads, you might like to make this one with figs, which are now in season: Yellow bean and fig salad with whipped goat’s cheese
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Tomato and Basil Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Dressing
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, washed and halved use a variety of colours if you can
- 2 large tomatoes, washed and sliced
- 1 handful strawberries, washed and stems removed
- 1 handful basil leaves
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar use the best quality you can
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- For the dressing, blend together a couple of the strawberries with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Season to taste and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- For the salad, arrange the sliced large tomatoes on the bottom of the plate, the halved tomatoes on top and sprinkle with a little salt.
- Finely slice the remaining strawberries and arrange on top of the tomatoes.
- Drizzle with the strawberry balsamic dressing (you won't need all of the dressing) and sprinkle the basil leaves on top. Serve immediately.