Here’s a recipe inspired by a California Farm Tour I had the pleasure of attending. I love that it is crazy easy to make and includes kitchen staples. Plus, since California strawberries are available year round, this balsamic appetizer can be made for any event, any time of year.
Before working for California strawberry farmers I’d never thought of using strawberries in savory dishes very much. Sure I’d had salads with strawberries, but I had not yet tried anything more adventurous than that. If I hadn’t done so, I might’ve never tried strawberry & avocado tostadas.
A couple years ago while at a blogger event in San Francisco, I tasted Italian rice balls with a strawberry compote stuffing instead of the more traditional tomato sauce. It was one of those moments when you can honestly say to yourself, or anyone in the vicinity, “I think this is the best thing I ever ate.”
Since that time I’ve done a lot of experimenting in my own kitchen, and at work. Part of my job requires putting together events that showcase the versatility of strawberries, and sometimes that means challenging chefs to come up with unique ways to serve strawberries. I’ve had the pleasure of tasting creations like baby back ribs with strawberry barbecue sauce, strawberry flatbread pizza with balsamic glaze, strawberry nachos, strawberry and prawn spring rolls – and the list goes on.
This recipe for strawberry and avocado tostadas is a good starter recipe for those looking to experiment with new ways to enjoy strawberries. Like me, you might also be pleasantly surprised at how delicious strawberries can be when added to savory dishes.
2½ cups (about ¾ pound) fresh California strawberries, stemmed and quartered
½ lb jicama, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
½ cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp minced jalapeño peppers
2 tbsp lime juice
1 lb avocados, peeled, seeded and cut into ½-inch dice
6 (6-inch) yellow corn tortillas
6 tbls crumbled queso fresco
6 cilantro sprigs
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In large bowl, mix together strawberries, jicama, cilantro, peppers and lime juice. Add avocados; fold together gently. Season with salt. Arrange tortillas on oven rack in one layer. Toast about 10 minutes or until crisp and starting to brown. Mound 1 cup strawberry mixture in center of each tortilla. Sprinkle each tostada with chili powder and 1 tablespoon queso fresco. Garnish with 1 cilantro sprig and 1 lime wedge.
As the weather begins to warm up or the leaves begin to fall, it’s always nice to have a short list of easy and tasty salad recipes to whip up on a casual weekday evening – or for a last-minute potluck or dinner party any time of the year.
Caprese salads are always a delicious idea, but have you ever tried making one with strawberries instead of tomatoes? The results are amazing! Here’s an easy recipe that you will want to save because I’m pretty sure you will most likely be making it more than once.
To make balsamic syrup, in nonreactive pot, simmer vinegar over low heat until reduced to one-half its original volume (1/4 cup).
In serving bowl, toss strawberries and mozzarella balls with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add basil and mint; toss again. Drizzle balsamic syrup over and around salad. Grind more pepper on top.