A long time ago, I read Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, where he said there were three things that made all the difference between restaurant kitchens and home kitchens. Those things, if you can't guess, are fresh herbs, squeeze bottles, and pastry rings.
Those three items, at least to me, were a bit of a revelation. Fortunately, I live fairly close to a kitchen supply store, so within a few weeks, I'd picked up squeeze bottles and pastry rings. The squeeze bottles led to lovely dishes like this and this, and fresh herbs had always been a staple of my kitchen. But those pastry rings -- for some reason, I remained a little terrified of them.
I mean, I used them for desserts fairly regularly. But here, where I wanted to take a simple summer salad and make it into something special-looking, I had a feeling it was time to get over my fears.
And wow, they sure did. Anthony Bourdain knows his stuff! This was so pretty and elegant, I only wished we had company to serve it to! So if you're looking for something to add a little 'wow' factor to an everyday dinner (and a really healthy one, at that!), all you need is this little restaurant trick. Get them on Amazon here, or at your local cooking supply store!
strawberry tomato salad recipe
1 cup cherry tomatoes, diced into very small cubes (about 1/4" per side)
1 cup small strawberries, trimmed and diced into very small strips (about 1/4" per side)
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp aged balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 ounce goat cheese, crumbled
In small mixing bowl, toss together tomatoes, strawberries, oil, vinegar, and salt. Let marinate at room temperature 10 minutes.
To serve, place the mixture into a 3" diameter pastry ring on individual plates, pressed to pack lightly. Remove the rings delicately, top each salad with goat cheese, and serve.