There's nothing quite like the first salad of the season that has been made from ingredients that all come from your own garden. Usually for me this is a simple lettuce salad, maybe dressed with some chives or a few other herbs.
This year, rather excitingly we have had a lovely lush crop of strawberries. Before you ask, I have noooo idea what type they are- they belong in our path and have hybridised and colonised the gravel, heading down towards the end of the garden, slowly but surely. We also have teeny weeny little alpine strawberries that taste intensively of summer. These don't survive well past being picked, and are instead a gardeners treat, to be popped into your mouth while weeding.
I've also managed to grow 3 different types of basil this year, a classic broad leaved type- the kind you get in the supermarket, a minature 'finissimo' style & a Greek. These summery little leaves alongside the soft, buttery lettuce that we've grown were begging to be paired with something sweetly tart, and as our tomatoes are still only a flowers dream, the strawberries made sense as a pairing.
Strawberries & Basil are a classic combination, so I can't lay claim to this being a particularly original recipe, however it tastes so glorious with the sweet strawberries and fragrant basil, all intensified with a balsamic vinegar dressing, plus the smell is pure Summer AND it looks so pretty on a plate, that I thought I'd just remind you all what a delicious combo it is.
This salad is zingy, fragrant and full of the sweet promise of hazy long Summer days to come. Even if you aren't a fan of fruit in salads, you should try this, I promise you the flavour combination will win you over.
- 20 (or so) strawberries (sliced)
- 1 handful basil leaves
- 2 handfuls lettuce
- 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbs olive oil (extra virgin)
- 1 pinch salt (Maldon or good quality flaky salt)
- 1 pinch pepper
- Whisk together the dressing. Tasting it as you go so it's lovely & tangy.
- Clean the lettuce leaves & dry them.
- Slice the strawberries & gently toss with the dressing. Add the basil, then serve.