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Strawberries give savory salsa a sweet twist

In today's "Home with the Lost Italian," Sarah Nasello explains why this unconventional take on salsa is perfect as a snack with tortilla chips or even as a tasty complement to fish or chicken.

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Sarah's Fresh Strawberry Salsa is a colorful burst of spring flavor and a savory twist on the popular dip. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
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Fresh strawberries are coming into season, and my recipe for Fresh Strawberry Salsa features this fruity favorite in an unconventional, and flavorful, twist.

The bright and boldly sweet flavor of strawberries makes them a natural choice for desserts and breakfast pastries. In past columns, I have shared some of our family’s favorite strawberry recipes, including a Classic Strawberry Shortcake , a simple and delicious Strawberry Coffee Cake , and (my personal favorite) Strawberries and Cream Scones .

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A bounty of fresh strawberries and select vegetables come together to create a salsa that is colorful, of the season and delicious. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

If it seems counterintuitive to feature fresh berries in a savory setting, this simple strawberry salsa may be just the dish to convert you to the saltier side of fruit. Featuring all fresh ingredients, this strawberry salsa is easy to make — and much of the prep work can be done well in advance of serving.

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For this recipe, the strawberries take over the role of tomatoes in a traditional salsa, and are combined with bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro and fresh lime to create the perfect blend of sweet and savory flavor. The measurements in this recipe are based on my personal preference and can be adjusted as you desire.

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This quick and easy springtime salsa features fresh strawberries, jalapeno pepper, lime zest and juice, red onion, fresh cilantro and sweet bell pepper. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

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Since the strawberries are the star of this dish, I like to chop them into a medium-dice, roughly about a half inch in size, so that they stand out against the other components. For the bell pepper, I recommend either yellow or orange to contrast with the bright red of the strawberries, and I cut it into pieces just a tad smaller than the strawberries.
I cut both the red onion and the jalapeno into small-diced pieces, roughly about the size of your pinky nail, and you could chop them even finer, or add more to your salsa, if desired. Since I am the only one who likes spicy food in our family, I use just half a jalapeno for this recipe, which creates a salsa with very mild in heat.

A hefty splash of fresh lime flavor helps to bring all the flavors together, and I use both the zest and juice of one lime for this recipe. You could also use fresh lemon and/or orange, or even a combination of citrus fruits to brighten up the salsa.

I typically make this salsa as a snack to serve with tortilla chips or hearty crackers and cheese. However, I recently served it atop some beautiful fillets of baked Dover sole and the delicate nature of the strawberries provides the perfect complement for flaky, white fish or even chicken.

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Bright and versatile, Sarah's Fresh Strawberry Salsa is perfect for serving as a dip with chips or as a salsa topping with flaky white fish like Dover sole. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

This salsa is at its best when prepared at least 30 minutes before serving, to allow time for the flavors to meld together, and it can be assembled and refrigerated up to four hours in advance. The strawberries and vegetables can be chopped up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerated until you are ready to assemble the salsa.

Beautiful and brightly flavored, this Fresh Strawberry Salsa is an easy to make, versatile and delicious side dish for the season.

Fresh Strawberry Salsa

PRINT: Click here for a printer-friendly version of this recipe

Serves: 6 to 8

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh strawberries, medium-diced (1/2-inch pieces)

¼ cup yellow or orange bell pepper, medium-diced

¼ cup red onion, finely chopped

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½ to 1 jalapeno, seeded and small-diced

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, stems removed and roughly chopped

Zest of 1 lime

2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

Place strawberries, bell pepper, onion, jalapeno, cilantro and lime zest in a medium mixing bowl. Drizzle olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the lime juice over the ingredients, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Gently toss to combine. Taste and add more lime juice and seasoning as desired.

Best if made at least 30 minutes before serving. Salsa can be assembled up to 4 hours and refrigerated before serving.

Serve with tortilla chips or pita crackers. Also excellent with flaky white fish and grilled chicken.

Sarah’s Tips:

  • Strawberries and vegetables can be chopped up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerated until ready to assemble with the olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.
  • Vary the salsa by adding fresh avocado and/or cucumber.
  • For a fresh summer salad, toss with diced cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella balls and serve over a bed of green leaf or butter lettuce.

Recipe Time Capsule:

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Recipes can be found with the article at InForum.com.
“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at sarahnasello@gmail.com.

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