Praise the lord and run to the grocery store nearest you—strawberry season is officially upon us!
When Chris and I walked into the produce department yesterday, we were both IMMEDIATELY drawn—like moths to a flame—to a cart piled high with baskets and baskets of strawberries. Plump, juicy berries that looked decidedly different from the pale, sour impostors that have been filling the shelves since September. These beauties, from McLeod Farms right down the road, were shiny and deep red, with a delicately sweet scent that you could smell from practically across the whole store.
The season’s first batch of strawberries is HERE, and it is glorious.
These were more than good enough to just stuff directly into your face while standing over the kitchen sink (and believe me, we did that too), but I wanted to celebrate the occasion and use them for something a little more dignified. Something simple and fresh, where the strawberry flavor could shine—because berries this good deserve to be the starring ingredient.
We had also picked up a bunch of fresh basil and a loaf of French bread, and the beautiful spring weather called for an appetizer on the porch. So I opted for a sweet twist on traditional bruschetta: Strawberry-Balsamic Bruschetta.
This is my favorite kind of recipe in that you barely need a recipe—just a list of ingredients that you mix together until it looks (and tastes) right. You just don’t want to get too heavy-handed with the feta or balsamic, or you’ll overpower the subtler strawberry and basil flavors.
It makes a small batch perfect for an appetizer for two, but it can easily be doubled (or tripled, or quadrupled) for however many hungry strawberry-lovers you have to feed. How perfect would these be for a summer cookout or a wedding shower?
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 6 slices baguette (about 1/2 inch thick)
- About 5-6 medium-sized strawberries (roughly 1/2 cup), chopped
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
- 2 Tbsp. crumbled feta cheese
- 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- A small pinch of salt
- Brush the olive oil onto the baguette slices and place face-up in the toaster oven. Toast until just barely golden brown. (You can use a regular oven set to 400, too, just be careful not to overdo it—you don’t want them to be TOO crunchy.)
- Meanwhile, place strawberries, basil, feta, balsamic, and salt together in a small bowl and stir gently to combine.
- And voila. That’s it. But two steps seemed like not enough for a recipe, so here we are.
Note: These are best enjoyed while relaxing on a porch, preferably with a glass of white wine.
(For an even prettier presentation, mix just the berries, cheese, and salt—then top with the chopped basil and a drizzle of balsamic reduction.)