Sweet and Savory Strawberry Salad with Rosé Reduction and Fresh Mint is a lovely balance of sweet and savory flavors, with a touch of heat if you want it (from jalapeno) and a burst of freshness (from mint).
This salad sounds fancy, but you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to put together! Wine with a touch of honey reduces in less than 10 minutes on the stovetop, and is then cooled and used to macerate fresh-sliced strawberries. Onion adds a bit of savory flavor, a tiny bit of jalapeno is optional, and fresh mint brightens it up. Serve it as a salad on its own or use it to top grilled meat!
What is Macerated Fruit
When I was a kid, strawberry shortcake was probably my least favorite dessert (it was the mushy cake that killed it for me!), but I used to love sitting and watching my mom hull and slice a huge bowl of strawberries. They’d be sprinkled with sugar and like magic, they’d be rich and syrupy within too long. And even though I wasn’t a fan of strawberry shortcake, a bowl of macerated strawberries was something I could never turn down.
You can think of macerated fruit as being similar to marinated meat; the fruit is left more tender and flavorful. To macerate, fruit that’s dried or has a lower water content needs to have a liquid added (such as wine, water, liqueur, etc.) along with sugar. Fresh fruit with a high water content, such as strawberries, only needs sugar. When you add sugar to fresh strawberries and let it sit, the sugar pulls out the liquid that’s naturally in the berries, resulting in sweet berries swimming in a thick syrup. In addition to adding sweetness and drawing out the liquid in the fruit, the sugar amplifies the fruit’s natural flavor.
How to Macerate Strawberries
Rinse, hull, and slice your strawberries. Add a generous sprinkle of sugar (about 1 to 2 tablespoons per 1 cup) and add a splash of liqueur if you fancy (although it’s definitely not needed), and let them sit at least 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours).
How to Make a Wine Reduction
For this strawberry salad recipe, we’re macerating strawberries in a rosé reduction that’s slightly sweetened with a touch of honey. Making a wine reduction is as simple as cooking down the wine on the stovetop. Don’t leave it unattended though, you’ll want to watch it to make sure the wine doesn’t boil over!
Thickening a Wine Reduction Into a Sauce
This has absolutely nothing to do with this recipe, but how to thicken a wine reduction into a sauce is a question I’ve received a few times, so I figured I’d talk about it briefly here. If you’re making a red wine sauce for steak or something, the process isn’t much different than what we’re doing here. You can do it a few different ways, but I’ll talk about two easy methods.
The Roux at the Beginning Method
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of flour and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in 1 cup of wine, bring to a simmer, and continue cooking (whisking frequently) until reduced by about half. Taste and add any seasonings you like (e.g. salt, black pepper, rosemary, garlic, etc.).
The Butter at the End Method
Add 1 cup of wine to a small saucepan, bring to a boil, and continue cooking (whisking occasionally) until reduced by about half. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of butter and turn off the heat. Taste and add any seasonings you like (e.g. salt, black pepper, rosemary, garlic, etc.).
How to Use This Sweet and Savory Strawberry Salad
- It makes a great side salad on its own
- Serve it on top of grilled chicken, steak, or fish
- Rinse and drain a can of white beans and toss with this salad
- Toss it with some baby greens and top it with sliced grilled chicken for a full meal
- Add to crostini along with a bit of crumbled goat cheese
Other Sweet and Savory Fruit Salad Recipes
- Watermelon Salad with Sweet and Spicy Vinaigrette from An Edible Mosaic
- Sweet and Savory Cucumber Fruit Salad from Gourmande in the Kitchen
- Mixed Fruit with Lemon-Basil Dressing from Jo Cooks
- Super Simple Fresh Fig and Pistachio Salad with Pomegranate Dressing from An Edible Mosaic
- ¾ cup (180 ml) rosé wine
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 pint (340g/12 oz) fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeno (optional)
- 1 pinch salt and black pepper
- 2 sprigs fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
- For the rosé reduction, add the wine and honey to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then cook until it’s reduced to about ¼ cup, about 5 to 7 minutes, turning the heat down as necessary so it doesn’t boil over. Cool to room temperature.
- For the salad, gently stir together the strawberries, onion, jalapeno (if using), salt, black pepper, and cooled rosé reduction. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours) before serving.
- Right before serving, stir in the mint.