Three recipes with strawberries
- Credit: Kerstin rodgers
Strawberries are a July staple, reminiscent of Wimbledon and traditionally served with thick cream and sugar.
Strangely they are almost interchangeable with tomatoes; they both contain a flavour compound called Strawberry Furanone. I once made a tomato salad with cream and sugar for one of my supper clubs (a recipe from the Little House on the Prairie books); in the candlelight guests thought they were eating strawberries!
I'm lucky enough to find small wild strawberries in my North London garden. In France these 'fraises des bois' are expensive to buy but prized for their intense flavour with hints of vanilla. Here are some alternative recipe ideas for strawberries which enhance their crisp, juicy but robust texture and the acidity that underlies their sweetness.
Strawberry and Tomato salad with Holy Basil
Punnet Strawberries, quartered lengthways
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400 g ripe tomatoes, quartered
Bunch Holy basil or ordinary basil
1 lemon or lime, juice of
Glug olive oil
Sprinkle sea salt
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Cut and assemble the ingredients together
Seared Sesame Tuna with Strawberry Bruschetta (serves 4)
In Japan, strawberry sandwiches are a thing, often sold in train stations, so strawberries on toast is not such a bizarre concept. By July we should have the weather to chance the barbeque. But the British reality is that during our summer, we are just as likely to have rain as sunshine. So this recipe will work both on the barbeque outside, using a cast iron pan or a ridged grill pan, but can also be pimped indoors.
Ridged grill pan or bbq
8 slices of sourdough bread
50 ml olive oil
16 strawberries sliced thinly
Small fresh basil leaves
Sea salt and black pepper
4 x 250g ahi tuna steaks (I use yellow tail)
50 ml olive oil
50 ml toasted sesame oil
Wasabi paste optional
200 g sesame seeds both black and white (furikake)
Toast the sourdough slices then drizzle a little oil on the bread. Layer on the strawberry slices, add a few tiny leaves of fresh basil and season with sea salt and black pepper.
Rinse and pat dry your tuna steaks. Mix the olive oil and sesame oil together in a small bowl, sprinkle with sea salt. Add the wasabi or horseradish sauce, if you have it.
Pour the sesame seeds (a mix of black and white looks good or you can buy a Japanese mix called furikake seasoning) into a plate. Brush the each tuna steak with the oil mixture then press the steaks down firmly in the seed mix, turn it over and cover the other side with the sesame seeds.
Prepare your barbecue and frying/grill pan; you want it very hot. Once hot, brush the pan with the rest of the oil and press the sesame covered tuna steaks into the pan. Do not cook for long if you like your tuna seared. You just want the edges to be cooked and the centre raw.
Once cooked remove from the pan and leave to rest for a few minutes…the tuna is easier to slice. Spread the slices on a bed of green salad leaves. Serve with the strawberry bruschetta.
Strawberry and Hibiscus soup (serves 5)
Fruit soups make a refreshing, healthy and vibrant dessert. Serve them in tea cups with a sablé biscuit, a scoop of yoghurt, a meringue. Hibiscus, known as Jamaica in Mexico, is full of vitamin C and also known to deter diabetes and balance blood sugar. Drinking 3 cups of hibiscus tea a day is proven to lower blood pressure. Strawberry and hibiscus complement each other and the fresh ginger adds heat.
50 g dried hibiscus flowers
500 ml boiling water
450 g ripe strawberries, hulled (reserve a few for decoration)
100 g caster sugar
5 cm fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tbsp pomegranate syrup
Soak the hibiscus flowers in hot water and leave to stand for at least a couple of hours or overnight. Then strain the flavoured water into a jug.
Place the strawberries in a blender and pour in the hibiscus water. Add the sugar, ginger and pomegranate syrup. Blend until smooth. Garnish with reserved strawberries