Monday, 11 August 2014

Strawberry Caprese Salad (Secret Recipe Club)

Strawberry Caprese Salad

Secret Recipe Club

This month for the Secret Recipe Club I was assigned to make something from Deborah of Delicious Happens.

Deborah's blog is just beautiful. I'm so envious of her food styling abilities, she clearly has a natural eye for artistic composition. Needless to say, her recipes had my mouth watering from the first moment.

It's summer berry season right now, so I'm buying and picking berries every weekend. (Keep an eye out for another batch of jam recipes soon.) Recipes for a gluten-free berry crisp and fresh berry tart drew my attention, but in the end I decided to go simple and elegant.

Now, everyone knows tomatoes are a fruit. But I think it's fair to say that replacing tomatoes with strawberries - even in a salad - is a slightly unconventional idea.

So I was feeling a bit brave as I made this strawberry caprese salad. My mum introduced me to strawberries with pepper when I was growing up, so I knew that bit would work. I was drawn in by the walnuts, and the tangy balsamic dressing. I added a spinach base to Deborah's recipe, inspired by a strawberry spinach salad that I once enjoyed at a restaurant, and I candied my walnuts (because why not?).

The end result was downright delicious, and very summery... but I still don't think strawberries-for-tomatoes is a substitution I'll be making every day (pizza, anyone...?)

Strawberry Caprese Salad

Strawberry Caprese Salad
Serves 4

4 cups fresh strawberries
4 cups fresh spinach leaves
⅓ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 cup (200g) fresh mozzarella balls

For the candied walnuts:
½ cup walnuts
1tbsp sugar
1tbsp water

For the balsamic dressing:
3tbsp balsamic vinegar
2tsp light brown sugar
¼tsp freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup olive oil
  1. Wash and hull the strawberries, and cut into halves.
  2. Wash and dry the spinach and basil leaves.
  3. Arrange the spinach and basil on the plate, and top with the strawberries and the mozzarella balls.
  4. Make the candied walnuts: roughly chop the nuts, and toss together with the sugar and water in a small pan. Heat until the walnuts are toasted and the sugar dissolved. Set aside to cool.
  5. Make the dressing: stir the sugar and pepper into the balsamic vinegar, and whisk in the olive oil.
  6. Sprinkle the walnuts over the salad, and serve with dressing on the side.

I'm submitting this recipe to August's Cooking with Herbs (hosted by Karen) and No Croutons Required (hosted by Jac and co-founded by Lisa), both of which are guaranteed to be excellent collections of summery dishes.

 Cooking with Herbs Lavender and Lovage


Michaela Kenkel said...

This recipe just screams summer!! Love it! Great post and pick for the SRC!!

Rachel said...

How very intriguing!

Kate Glutenfreealchemist said...

Beautiful vibrant summer colours! I can see why strawberry, mozzarella and basil would work...... sounds lovely!

Heather S said...

What a great salad! I love all the flavors and I bet it was perfect salad for a warm summer night!

shelley c. said...

I never would have thought to try strawberries for a caprese salad, but seeing yours, I can see exactly how and why it works, and can't believe I haven't tried it! I will definitely try it now!! Great choice.

Rebekah said...

Candied walnuts are a perfect addition. Great idea! I love strawberries and spinach together - but I'm not so sure about the cheese with it. I might just leave that out. :)

Emily Dicks said...

wow Rachel this salad sounds delicious and refreshing!

mypixieblog said...

This looks delicious (and also perfect for summer). Just ran out of mutz (as we like to call it in Jersey, LOL) BUT I do have some strawberries. I'll have to try this! Thanks, Rachel, and hope you are enjoying your summer :) XOXO

Colleen Bauer said...

This looks amazing. Great idea swapping the tomatoes for strawberries.

Miz Helen said...

I just love this combination for a salad, it looks delicious! Hope you are having a great day and thanks for sharing.
Miz Helen
SRC Group B

Julie said...

Oh this looks so good. I love all things caprese!! Perfect summer salad. Visiting from SRC B!

CJ Huang said...

Strawberries and balsamic is such a tasty combo! The candied walnuts sounds like a wonderful addition too. :)

Fiver Feeds said...

Yummy :)

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

I'm liking the sound of the candied walnuts, I'll have to try them and good looking salad. I'll be o sad when the berry season is over. Thanks for entering it into this month's No Croutons Required. The roundup is now live.

Johanna GGG said...

that salad looks delicious - I have been doing lots of strawberry cooking lately because strawberries have been cheap and plentiful - would love to try this (esp as tomatoes are not in season)

Karen S Booth said...

SO sorry for my late comment Rachel - but thanks for adding a BEAUTIFUL recipe to the cooking in herbs linky! Karen

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