So this blog rises from the dead to address the vexing concern of excess strawberries. Growers are really in the poo at the moment when it should be their product that is covered in it. Things were bad enough already with a glut that probably could be blamed upon the supermarket duopoly (prices even then seen around $1.00/punnet) but the introduction of sharp metal objects has imploded the entire market.
So what can be done, apart from locking up all the needles? Here are a few recipes that move outside the predictable uses for the berry into a more savoury arena. Due to the urgency of the issue, this blog breaks its own rules of trying everything first & then documenting the results. I hope you will forgive us in the short term as you test these yourself. (Actually, have made the risotto and the salad is a regular summer visitor, but photos are yet to be replaced with my own).
Importantly, all these recipes adhere to the “cut them up, don’t cut them out” approach rendering them safe for everyone.
Risotto alla Fragole (Italian Strawberry Risotto)
Adapted from Twelve: A Tuscan Cookbook
1.5l chicken stock
60g unsalted butter, divided
1 medium French shallot, peeled and finely chopped
250g strawberries, hulled and halved, divided
3 tablespoons brandy
500g risotto rice (Carnaroli, Vialone Nano or Arborio)
Salt and pepper to taste
50g freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, plus additional for serving
In a medium pot, heat the stock and bring it to a light simmer.In a large saucepan, melt half the butter over medium low heat. Add the shallot and cook until softened. Stir in half of the strawberry halves and cook for another 2 minutes. Pour in the brandy and continue to cook until evaporated. Add the rice and stir to thoroughly coat. Season as desired with salt and pepper.
Add the simmering stock, ½ cup at a time, and stir continuously until the liquid has been absorbed before adding more stock. Continue adding stock and stirring until the rice is creamy and soft, but with a slightly firm bite, about 20 minutes. Stir in the remaining strawberries and butter, then the parmigiano reggiano cheese. Serve immediately with additional Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper if desired.
For my own risotto monologue, you can investigate further here.
Strawberry and baby rocket salad
100g snowpeas (trimmed)
125g strawberries (hulled and halved)
80g baby rocket
1 ripe avocado (chopped)
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper
Cook 100g snowpeas (trimmed) in salted boiling water for 1 minute. Drain, refresh under cold water and drain again.
Place 125g strawberries (hulled and halved), 80g baby rocket and 1 ripe avocado (chopped) in a bowl with snowpeas.
Whisk together 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper; toss through salad.
Spicy Strawberry Gazpacho
10 ripe sweet strawberries – divided
3 large heirloom tomatoes – roughly chopped
1 small red capsicum – seeded and roughly chopped
1 medium cucumber – peeled and roughly chopped
⅓ cup soft sun-dried tomatoes
juice of ½ lemon
1-2 garlic cloves – roughly chopped
about ¼ small red chili or more to taste – seeded, or ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
dash of cayenne pepper – optional
½ teaspoon sea salt
large handful fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
Reserve 5 strawberries. Place the rest of the ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth. Taste for salt and spice, adjusting if needed. Chill very well. Slice the reserved strawberries. Ladle the soup into chilled bowls and garnish with strawberry slices and basil leaves.