I have recently written about strawberries, since I used them in a cobbler, and in a Danish braid. I also wrote about fragola a while ago. Today, I will describe a way of using the beloved berry in a savory setting. A typical savory use for strawberries is as an ingredient of risotto. However, since I have developed a recipe for risotto with another berry, I am putting off elaboration of this topic until a later date.
A few nights ago, I concocted an alliterative salad. However, the alliteration works only in Italian: insalata di fragole, fave e finocchi (strawberry, fava bean and fennel salad). This fusion was the result of random acts of purchase. I got the three ingredients with different ideas in mind, then decided to hijack them into a salad. The result worked well and I realized that the color combination, which was not at all part of my concerns, matches that of the Italian flag: bianco, rosso e verde (white, red and green), contributed by fennel, strawberries and fava beans, respectively. The Italian flag is a tricolore (tricolor) and sometimes referred to by that name. The green of fava beans is not the same green as that of the Italian flag, so I added basilico (basil) to strengthen the green component of the salad.
I prepared each element separately, then combined them:
- fragole: wash, hull and slice 1/2 lb of strawberries, then season them with a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. Toss and set aside to marinate for a little while.
- fave: get the beans out of 1 lb of pods and blanch them briefly. Let cool, then remove the tough outer layer. Set aside.
- finocchi: wash carefully a fennel bulb and slice thinly, possibly using a mandoline.
Bring the ingredients together in a serving bowl and mix. Season as desired. I tend to stay very close to the tradition I grew up with, i.e., olive oil and vinegar. Make the first good quality and the second balsamic and you cannot go wrong. Add salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste and toss. Add a few leaves of fresh basil, finely shredded, toss again and serve. The combination of textures is another interesting characteristic of this simple summer salad.
This is my contribution to Fresh Produce of the Month, a fun event organized by Marta of An Italian in the US. There is time until July 21 to contribute to il mese delle fragole (strawberry month).
Here is the roundup of the event.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
insalata di fragole, fave e finocchi
or launch the insalata di fragole, fave e finocchi audio file [mp3].
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Simona, here's your strawberry salad. Interesting...the Italiani called strawberries Fragola, us Greeks call them "Fraou-la".
Posted by: Peter | July 03, 2008 at 02:40 PM
Well, that is a very beautiful salad.
Am closing eyes and imagining the way that strawberries and basil wrk together...and it's wonderful!
Posted by: Lucy | July 03, 2008 at 03:03 PM
Oh I miss so much good blogging while traveling.
This salad is intriguing. Can't wait to read your previous posts too.
Posted by: Lori Lynn @ Taste With The Eyes | July 03, 2008 at 05:08 PM
Simply lovely. Three perfect ingredients in a very creative salad. Great recipe.
Posted by: Laurie Constantino | July 03, 2008 at 06:21 PM
Posted by: Baol | July 04, 2008 at 04:00 AM
What a very interesting-sounding combination of ingredients. I'd love to have a taste, please. ;-)
Posted by: Paz | July 04, 2008 at 07:03 AM
Interesting indeed, Peter.
Hi Lucy. This is actually not the first recipe I create in which I pair the two: I love the marriage.
Hi Lori Lynn and welcome back.
Thanks, Laurie. Glad you like the combination.
I which I could offer you some, Paz.
Posted by: Simona | July 04, 2008 at 11:32 AM
You had me at "alliteration". =)
Posted by: _ts of [eatingclub] vancouver | July 05, 2008 at 06:36 PM
Oh, che bella!
Thank you so much for such a wonderful contribution :) -- I love strawberries in salads!
Posted by: Marta | July 09, 2008 at 07:57 PM
what a delicious melange of flavours and textures!!!
Posted by: bee | July 10, 2008 at 01:02 PM
I could not resist, TS: memories of studying literature in college.
Piacere mio, Marta.
Thanks, Bee. I was really pleased with the result.
Posted by: Simona | July 10, 2008 at 03:09 PM