This was the first meal invented from the 2021 CSA and it started the season off right. So, very ripe strawberries paired with equally vibrant tomatoes created a sweet, but savory topping for grilled balsamic marinaded chicken.
I’m not sure if it was the long winter, the anticipation of fresh local produce or just the finished product itself, but these strawberries were bursting with more strawberry flavor than I have had in a long time. It’s the kind of sensory memory that brings you back to childhood, to a time when every late spring the family would go strawberry picking.
Mom and dad would herd the three of us kids up, hop in the truck and head to a local strawberry farm. As a kid, it was like a never ending field full of deep green leaves and pops of red dots as far as the eye can see. We would walk down row after row picking our favorites to fill the boxes, and sometimes accidentally smushing an overly ripe one in your hand, making it look like you cut yourself. Back at the house, mom would be begin making strawberry jam or strawberry short cake and what kid doesn’t love that?!
After a few years, my dad added a row of strawberry plants to his huge garden. Then you could just run in back and grab strawberries whenever you would want at home and enjoy (season permitting of course).
One day, there was scary moment in that row of strawberry plants. To begin, there are two things in this world that are drawn to fresh, sweet strawberries – kids and bubble bees. What those bees didn’t know is that my drawn-to-the-strawberries brother was severely allergic to bees…meaning anaphylaxis, he needs an immediate shot, OMG – this is scary. It was a good thing we were right next to the house, parents came out, they were prepared and all was well. Ironically, my brother went back to the strawberry row the very next day…bring it on bees!
I do not recall ever having strawberries with tomatoes as a kid. Not sure it would have been in my wheel-house then, but it is now. With just the right amount of fresh herbs, oil and vinegar, and seasonings – this pared well with both the chicken and the salad. Maybe I’ll make this with my brother some time to see if he is as drawn to this dish as he was to the garden strawberries back in the day.
I know I’m looking forward to the CSA box this year that brings me beyond juicy strawberries and fresh tomatoes to make this dish all over again!
Strawberry Tomato Salsa
- 1 pint fresh grape tomatoes, diced
- 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and diced
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 Tbls fresh chiffinade basil
- 1 tsp fresh diced oregano
- 1 Tbls olive oil
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Combine olive oil, balsamic, herbs, and salt and pepper to bowl. Whisk to incorporate. Add tomatoes and strawberries. Stir to combine. Taste and add more salt, pepper, olive oil or vinegar to you liking.
Use salsa to top balsamic marinaded and grilled chicken or use as dressing for salad of frisee lettuce.
*Experimental Spoon Original.