Oh sweet, sweet strawberries
It’s here! Spring is finally here! How do we know? Because the strawberries are incredible right now. Of course, a perfectly ripe, juicy strawberry on its own is a thing of perfection. But strawberries can offer an unexpected zippy, almost citrusy element to both sweet and savory dishes as well, especially if their natural sharpness is contrasted with the right complimenting flavors. Balsamic vinegar, for example, is a natural pairing with strawberries because both ingredients are naturally sweet and sharp at the same time. Try boiling down a few cups of balsamic with a touch of sugar until it becomes syrupy and viscous. Pour it over vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries, and garnish with a touch of basil and bright green olive oil. You’ll never look at dessert the same way again. Strawberries are also coveted for their color, and can be muddled into the sunrise of vodka, rum, and gin easily. Tomatoes are also a natural and unique pairing for strawberries. Try replacing 50% of your fresh tomatoes with strawberries the next time you make pasta sauce, and make sure to cook everything down until it’s thick and rich. The result will be unctuous, bright, and shockingly savory. Of course dessert and breakfast cannot be forgotten (and so often the lines between them can be decadently blurred). Whether dipped in chocolate, served whole on top of pancakes or as a garnish for tarts, pies, crepes, or crème brulee, or melted into a coulis to top ice cream or waffles, fresh strawberries will signal to your diners that spring is here to stay and here to eat.