In the summer, strawberries star in shortcakes, sorbets and other sweets. When perfectly ripe, their meltingly tender texture also plays well in entrée recipes. Whether cooked long and slow so only their essence remains, or tossed into salads fresh and juicy, strawberries speak of summer.
Strawberry Salsa (pictured above)
This simple salsa, best served within an hour or two of being mixed, goes well with grilled chicken or fish. I love the spicy-sweet flavor so much that I sometimes just eat it straight from the bowl! You can also replace the strawberries with mangoes or peaches. Adjust the amount of chilies to your taste.
2 cups fresh ripe strawberries, diced
1 large jalapeño, minced
2 green onions, green part only, chopped
juice of 1 fresh lime
1 fresh clove garlic, pressed
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp white pepper
Toss all together and chill.
Roasted Turkey Thighs with Strawberry Fig Reduction
This is a great do-ahead dinner. You can prepare the whole dish the day before and the flavors mellow and become richer the second day. Even though it requires three hours of cooking initially, it’s a really simple recipe. You just blend and pour and bake.
6 boneless, skinless turkey thighs, trimmed of all fat
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 garlic cloves
1/3 cup marsala wine
6 dried black mission figs, hard stem removed
2 cups fresh, ripe strawberries, hulled
2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
Add oil to large baking dish and arrange turkey in one layer, so it touches on all sides. Place all ingredients except turkey into blender and puree. Pour over the turkey and bake in a 350-degree oven for 3 hours, basting with the juices from the pan each hour. Do not flip the turkey over! Cover loosely with foil for the last hour if it looks like it is getting too brown.
Serve with buttered noodles and sautéed greens, like kale or Swiss chard.
Thai Noodle Salad with Strawberries
As you may know by now, I am obsessed with Asian noodle salads: fresh, crunchy and delicious on a hot summer day. A spicy peanut dressing complements the fruit and veggies.
8 ounces spaghetti or soba noodles
3 tablespoons oriental sesame oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon peeled, grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
¼ cup hot water
3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons Sriracha chili sauce
4 green onions, chopped
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
½ cup fresh basil, chopped
2 cups mung bean sprouts
1 cup carrots, cut in small julienne
1 cucumber, sliced
2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered lengthwise
2 roasted chicken breasts, shredded
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Rinse with ice-cold water in a colander. Drain and transfer pasta to large bowl, add 3 tablespoons sesame oil and toss to coat.
Into a blender, add garlic, ginger, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, hot water and Sriracha, and blend. Pour 1/2 cup dressing over chicken and toss well to coat. Place pasta into large bowl; add green onions, cilantro and basil and toss. Add sprouts, carrots, cucumber, strawberries and chicken and drizzle with remaining dressing; mix well. Transfer to individual serving plates and serve at cool room temperature.