There’s nothing like a perfectly ripe, luscious strawberry picked in the heart of summer. Ruby red to the core, bursting with intense sweetness and complex flavor, it’s hard to believe they’re related to those out-of-season berries with pale centers and one-dimensional taste. One of the key flavor compounds in strawberries, known as strawberry furanone, is also found in another red fruit: the tomato. According to food writer Niki Segnit in her 2010 book The Flavor Thesaurus, some chefs say the two fruits can be used interchangeably. Instead of the classic pairing of tomato and basil, try swapping in strawberries and notice how the sweet and savory play together.
The Mindful Kitchen Recipe: Strawberry basil salad
Slice a quart of strawberries, tear up a bunch of basil leaves, and toss them in a bowl with a sprinkling of balsamic vinegar, a smidge of salt, a few pinches of sugar, and a couple of cranks of freshly ground black pepper. Let marinate for 10 minutes or so, then serve.