One of the surefire signs of summer is sweet, juicy strawberries appearing at the market! They’re the perfect sweet treats whether eaten out of hand or piled high on shortcake topped with whipped cream or dipped in warm chocolate. Yum! How about getting a little savory with your strawberries this year?
Local berries drizzled with balsamic glaze and a few twists of fresh-cracked black pepper make for a perfect balance of sweet and savory. Ever tried that combo as an ice cream? Check out Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream shop for their inspired balsamic strawberry ice cream!
They’re also perfect in salads – my Strawberry & Spinach Salad with sweet Walla Walla onions, goat cheese and my Poppyseed–Ginger Vinaigrette is one of my favorite summer recipes.
And don’t forget to muddle some in a summer- sipper like in my d’lish Strawberry Shag. It teams lightly-sugared strawberries with fresh basil! Shaken with vodka and lemon juice, this refreshing cooler is perfect to start any patio party!
Get creative and enjoy some “first of summer” strawberries! -Kathy
Spinach & Strawberry Salad with Glazed Almonds & Lowfat Poppyseed–Ginger Vinaigrette
Makes about 6 servings
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon salad oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons sugar
8 cups baby spinach
2 cups strawberries, stemmed and halved or quartered, depending upon size
1/2 cup thinly sliced sweet white onions, such as Walla Walla sweets, if in season
To make vinaigrette: In a blender combine the white wine vinegar, strawberries and ginger. Process until it is a smooth puree. Then add the remaining ingredients (except for poppyseed) and blend until smooth. Stir in poppy seeds. Refrigerate until needed.
To make the glazed almonds: Lightly pan spray a baking sheet and set aside.
Place almonds and sugar in a non-stick skillet on high heat. Start stirring with a wooden spoon. Sugar will start to dissolve and then caramelize. Stir continuously to lightly toast almonds and coat with the sugar. When almonds and sugar are the color of dark amber and golden brown, quickly remove from the pan onto sprayed baking sheet.
Spread out with spoon and let cool totally before using. Break up before serving. NOTE: Do not touch sugar or almonds with fingers when cooking or immediately after cooking. It is molten sugar and very hot!
To make and assemble the salad: Place the spinach leaves in a large salad/serving bowl. Toss with the strawberries, onions and about 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette. Sprinkle almonds on the top of salad. Reserve extra vinaigrette for another use or serve extra on the side for those that desire more.
Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®
(Photo from Kathy Casey’s Sips & Apps, Chronicle Books – Angie Norwood Browne)
Fresh basil lends a fun flavor note to the classic combination of strawberries and lemonade. Soda water introduces a lively sparkle.
Makes 1 drink
1 to 2 large sprigs fresh basil
1/4 cup Sugared Strawberries with juice (recipe follows)
1 1/2 ounces vodka
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
3 to 4 ounces chilled soda water
For garnishing: fresh strawberry, small basil leaf
In a cocktail shaker, press the basil and strawberries together with a muddler to release the basil’s flavor. Fill the shaker with ice. Measure in the vodka and lemon juice. Cap and shake vigorously. Pour into a large glass, top with soda water, and stir. Garnish with a strawberry and basil leaf.
Makes enough for about 6 drinks
1 pint fresh strawberries, stemmed and thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Mix the ingredients and let sit for 15 minutes before using.
Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Sips & Apps, Chronicle Books.