Friday, May 13, 2011

Roasted Strawberries

Organic strawberries have begun to appear at my local natural food store, and at first sighting a couple of days ago, I couldn't resist the urge to buy more than I could possibly eat. It's probably a character flaw of some kind. The upside of this is that after eating a bunch of them fresh, I still had about a pound of gorgeous ripe beauties to play with. So I decided to try something new.

I vaguely remembered seeing a recipe somewhere that had you roasting strawberries with olive oil and salt, and then adding some port and balsamic vinegar. It sounded  at once a bit odd and potentially quite tasty, so I figured, "Why not?"

After I had washed and hulled them, I cut them in half (and the larger ones into quarters), and tossed them in a bowl with EVOO, fine-ground Celtic salt, and some palm sugar.

Then I spread them out in a single layer on a baking pan lined with unbleached parchment paper, and roasted them at 375F for about 30 minutes. The parchment shields acidic ingredients from reacting with the aluminum pan, but it also made quick, easy work of sliding the whole batch of roasted strawberries, juices and all, into a bowl. While they were still hot, I added a splash of ruby port and another splash of 18-year-old balsamic vinegar, folding gently with a silicone spatula to combine well.

The results were astounding. I don't really like cooked strawberries all that much--it tends to wash out their fresh fruit taste and leave them a bit bland by comparison--however, these strawberries were every bit as luscious in their roasted form as they had been fresh, but with a concentrated flavor. No doubt a lot of the credit goes to the other ingredients, but so what?

The first thing I tried them on was a gob of "Coconut Bliss" dark chocolate ice cream (ooh baby).

My wife was in bed already, reading herself into a sleep-ready state, when I brought this heavenly concoction upstairs for her to try. I fed her a spoonful and then I took one, as she made the appropriate noises. We took turns savoring, and a mere forty-five seconds or so later, the bowl was bone dry. I'm sure there will be other good combinations in the future, but this was one that had to be repeated, over and over, until the entire first batch of roasted strawberries was gone (oh well).

Next time, I think I'll add some sprigs of fresh rosemary during the roasting phase and see what happens...


3 comments:

  1. Roasted strawberries? Atop chocolate Coconut Bliss?! Oh my goodness, I'll have to try this decadent-looking creation of yours. :)

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  2. I came across your comments on the Sweet Beet and thought I'd check out your blog. I'm so glad I did. I thought I had tried roasting just about everything on the planet, but never thought of roasting strawberries. Picking season starts shortly here in New Jersey. I'll have to try this technique!

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  3. Thanks! I think the trick is to take it just to the edge where the juices begin to caramelize, without letting them burn. That way, you get a concentration of flavor and a slightly chewy texture, enhanced by the salt and olive oil; the port and balsamic replace lost moisture with a pleasant sweet-tang. You could try using agave instead of the palm sugar to keep them moist(although I personally avoid agave for the most part, because of its high fructose content).

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