With so many different types of produce available year-round at the grocery store, gone-but-not-forgotten is not really a thing anymore, though sometimes you wish it was, as is the case with strawberries. The clamshell packages you find in supermarkets often lack the sweetness and texture of what you find locally in spring and summer, so seeing them in the produce department in, say, December, is just a sad reminder of what we don’t have at the moment. I’d rather they not be there at all than sitting there teasing me.
Friends, we’ve waited it out long enough. As farmers markets begin to gear up for the season, we can rest easy knowing that fresh, local strawberries are just around the corner. It’s not out of the question for me to sit down and eat a pint on their own, but if you’re looking for a few new ideas to highlight this fabulous fruit, here are some from our archives:
Baby Spinach Salad With Strawberries, Oranges and Toasted Pecans. There’s no cloying sweetness here, as the strawberries mingle with oranges — snag a blood orange, if you can — and an orange vinaigrette for a dish bright in flavor and color. With some grilled salmon or chicken, you can turn this into a meal, and I’d throw in some creamy dollops of goat cheese, too.
Elle Sweet and Sour Strawberries. Here is a totally different kind of salad, pairing strawberries with, wait for it, quick-pickled celery. Both weird and wonderful, it’s a creation from the popular D.C. cafe Elle.
Grilled Chicken Salad With Sugar Snap Peas and Strawberries. Okay, it’s another salad, but the combination of textures and flavors from the main ingredients is absolutely enticing, and we couldn’t skip this one. A few tablespoons of good balsamic vinegar bring the whole thing together.
Cold Soup of Strawberries and Tomato. A bit like gazpacho, you can even serve this soup for dessert. Strawberries and tomatoes make a great seasonal pair.
Strawberry Amaretto Parfaits. Ellie Krieger’s light yet satisfying dessert layers lightly sweetened strawberries with a whipped cream-yogurt mix and crumbled amaretti cookies, an Italian treat you can find in specialty markets and many well-stocked grocery stores.
Double-Strawberry Buttermilk Panna Cotta. Here’s another beautiful, layered dessert, and it’s from cookbook author Dorie Greenspan. The double dose of strawberry comes in the form of fresh berries as well as a quick jam. If you haven’t made panna cotta before, consider this the ideal introduction to the easy, gelatin-set pudding.
No-Bake Oat Bars With Strawberries. This vegan, gluten-free (assuming you get gluten-free oats), no-bake dessert (or snack) lets the berry be the true star of the show.
Strawberry Bread. If you’ve let your strawberries get a little too soft — happens to the best of us! — it won’t matter once you mash them for this delicious quick bread.
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