Strawberries are such an interesting blend of simple and tricky. When they’re really good, they don’t need a single thing to taste amazing, with a huge variety of things. Lately strawberries have begun to show up in a lot of savory dishes, mostly salads. Their sweet/tart/juicy nature works well in many cases that you would use a fresh tomato. And along a similar line of thought, I’ve also seen them topping pizzas, and even in pasta dishes and rice salads!
The tricky thing, however, about strawberries, is that their flavor changes so much when they’re cooked that it’s important to pay attention to how long they might be exposed to heat. Personally, I usually prefer to use them raw or very, very close to raw whenever possible.
I love marinating strawberries, as their flavor works well with so many complementary herbs and spices. It’s a fun way to keep them fresh longer without cooking them, and infusing them with more flavor at the same time. And it’s so fun to surprise folks with new combinations!
Here’s my basic recipe for Marinated Strawberries, along with a few interesting ways to try using them.
Marinated Spiced Strawberries with Rosemary
This is also great without the addition of cumin and garam masala. Have fun playing around with it to suit your fancy!
2 pints fresh local strawberries, whole if they are small, or sliced if larger
2-3 tablespoons brown sugar, warmed honey, or pure maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
3-4 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil ( I love to use my fir needle infused oil)
2-4 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary, to taste
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
several grinds fresh pepper
optional additions: mild or hot red Chile powder, Hungarian sweet paprika or smoked paprika, minced fresh ginger, fresh thyme, cardamom
In a medium mixing bowl, stir all ingredients together, and put in a quart jar. Shake and refrigerate overnight, preferably, or at least a few hours before using.
Use the marinated strawberries in any dish that you might use fresh tomatoes.
Try them in a quinoa or couscous salad, with sautéed onion, feta and torn basil or arugula leaves.
Serve them with a lamb burger, with green olives and bleu cheese.
Serve them in fish tacos with soft corn tortillas, Mexican cheese, chopped romaine, and pickled onions.
I’d love to hear about anything this recipe inspires you to create! And also, any of your favorite ways to work (and play!) with strawberries!