Summer, in my heart and in my kitchen, is all about the produce - especially the amazing, juicy, peak-season fruit. For me, summer truly starts the moment the first local strawberries make their appearance. I always buy more than I can eat, and spend several days incorporating them into every meal. Hence this delicious (YAY, summer is here!) Strawberry Caprese Salad.
This salad features the usual caprese suspects of tender fresh mozzarella, fruity extra-virgin olive oil and peppery fresh basil. But instead of the tomatoes typically present, the salad is bejewelled with beautiful, ruby strawberries, bursting with summery juiciness.
It's drizzled with a sticky balsamic reduction, which at once enhances the berries' sweetness and brings out their subtle tartness.
When I was invited to partner with Walmart to spread the word about their fresh food, I was impressed by their initiatives to offer organics at more accessible prices and their commitment to local sourcing. When in season, 100% of the strawberries available at Walmart Supercentres are local. I appreciate that!
They also carry fresh basil, or you can grow your own to harvest all summer - pick up a basil plant in their Garden Centre.
I have a very simple method for making your own balsamic reduction with just two ingredients - but feel to swap in store-bought if you prefer. Either way, it is a magical ingredient. My friend served it to me once over ice cream. Was I skeptical? Yes. Was it absolutely delicious? UH HUH.
I'm honestly not even a big fan of balsamic vinegar. I find its flavour overpowering in most vinaigrettes. But when you add some sugar and boil it down to a syrup... magic happens. Trust me.
If you find yourself completely hooked on this salad, you can make it all summer long with different fruits as they come in season - it's delicious with stone fruit like peaches or cherries, or watermelon!
This post is sponsored by Walmart Canada, as part of the Walmart Fresh program. In exchange for this review, I have received special perks in the form of products and/or compensation. All opinions on this blog are my own. Thank you, dear readers, wholeheartedly for supporting me in my collaborations with the hand-picked sponsors that keep the Foodess kitchen running!
For Balsamic reduction:
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 pints strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise
200 grams bocconcini, sliced (or whole cocktail bocconcini)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
fresh basil leaves, torn
coarse or flakey salt
For balsamic reduction:
- Simmer balsamic vinegar and sugar in small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to a thick syrup (any consistency between maple syrup and honey is fine). Watch closely as it reduces, as it can burn quickly.
- Alternately scatter halved strawberries and bocconcini slices across four salad plates. Drizzle each plate with 1/2-tablespoon of olive oil and about 1/2-tablespoon balsamic reduction. Sprinkle with a good pinch of salt and scatter torn basil leaves over top (about 4 leaves per plate). Serve immediately.