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Strawberry, Cucumber, and Tomato Salad is excerpted from CHASING FLAVOR © 2020 by Dan Kluger and Nick Fauchald. Photography © 2020 by Evan Sung. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. https://www.loringplacenyc.com/cookbook/

Strawberry Cucumber Tomato Salad

yields 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

Red Wine Vinaigrette

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Whisk all the ingredients in a small bowl until the oil is emulsified.

 

For Serving

4 cups strawberries, hulled and halved (large berries quartered)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to taste

Kosher salt

Sugar

1 medium English or 4 Persian cucumbers, cut into 1/2-inch obliques (about 2 cups)

1 pint Sungold tomatoes, halved

2 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeño chile (with seeds)

1/4 cup basil ribbons (1/4-inch ribbons)

1/4 cup mint ribbons (1/4-inch ribbons)

Red Wine Vinaigrette

Flaky sea salt

Instructions

Prepare a hot grill or preheat a grill pan over high heat. In a medium bowl, toss 1 1/2 cups of the strawberries with the oil and season with salt and sugar. Grill the cut side of the strawberries until charred, about 1 minute (be careful not to overcook the strawberries; you want them to keep their structure). Transfer to a large bowl and add the raw strawberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, jalapeño, and herbs. Add the vinaigrette and toss well. Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil, season with flaky salt, and serve.

In many of my salads, I pack as much flavor and texture as possible into the dressing, using it to bridge other ingredients or add layers of complexity to the dish. Not so with this salad! Here, I only need the simplest of vinaigrettes—vinegar, oil, and salt—to tie everything together. Why? Because I’m using two ingredients that are loaded with flavor: super-sweet, apricot-colored Sungold tomatoes and strawberries, which become even more intense with a turn on the grill. As with any strawberry-based dish, try to skip the supermarket and seek out locally grown strawberries in the late spring and early summer. There are hundreds of varieties grown in the U.S.; Tristar and Earliglow are two of my favorites, but I generally buy the smallest berries on offer, which will have the most intense flavor. The TakeawayStrawberries can really take the heat of a grill, but it’s vital to season them right before you throw them on, or they’ll become too wet to get a good sear. It can be tricky to grill smaller strawberries, so use a wire grill basket, which also prevents you from having to move the strawberries around with tongs, which can easily damage them.