Do you have any favorite foods that you make every year for Pentecost? I have loads of favorites that I always make at Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s and, of course, Pascha. But Pentecost? I’ve just don’t have any foods that I think of as Pentecost foods. I don’t have anything that I make every year to celebrate this feast.
Or at least, I haven’t, until now. And now, I think maybe I have.
It’s strawberry time in the Pacific Northwest. The fresh strawberries here are the most amazing things. They are small, soft, and have so much intense strawberryness about them that they might be the Platonic ideal for strawberries. Honestly, strawberries grown anywhere else just seem like pale reflections of these strawberries.
And the only place you can get them is here. They get picked early in the morning, and they continue getting riper and riper. You can’t keep them overnight. They spoil too fast. So you pick them up at the berry stand or the farmer’s market, and you take them straight home, and you do something with them. And, oh my goodness, they’re wonderful.
Since it’s strawberry season, I decided that I had to make something with strawberries for the Pentecost pot luck on Sunday. Because I knew there would be more than enough desserts, I decided to make a strawberry-mozzarella-basil salad. I think it might become a Pentecost tradition at our house.
But maybe not just for Pentecost. It’s so easy, and so delicious, we might end up having it a lot during strawberry season.
And it’s so easy.
Start with 3 or 4 quarts of fresh ripe berries. Wash and cap them, and slice them in half. (If you’re using huge strawberries from the grocery store, you’ll have to cut them in quarters or eights or something).
Cut a pound of mozzarella into small cubes.
Get a big handful of basil leaves, and cut them into a chiffonade.
Make a strawberry balsamic vinaigrette dressing: Toss some of the strawberries into the blender. Add balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, a spoonful of brown mustard, salt, and pepper. With the blender running, slowly drizzle in olive oil. You want about three times as much oil as vinegar. If the dressing is too thick, add a splash of white wine.
Mix the berries, mozzarella, and basil, and toss gently in the dressing.
If you can’t serve it immediately, put the berries in one covered bowl in the refrigerator, and the basil and mozzarella in another bowl. Put the dressing in a jar. Toss it all together right before you serve.
Who Else Wants a Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Strawberry Dessert?: Try meringue cups with strawberries and creme anglaise. It might be exactly what you’re looking for.
The Exaltation of the Cross and a Bed of Basil: Why we fill the church with basil on the Exaltation of the Cross.
Catfish in Basil Cream Sauce: This dairy-free recipe is loaded with basil in a rich, creamy sauce made with coconut milk.