It’s the first week of spring! Whatever the weather actually turns out to be, the change of seasons is worth celebrating, especially with strawberries. Is there any other fruit that (at least in California) signals the season so beautifully?
Here are several strawberry recipes we wanted to share to mark the season.
Strawberry amaretto parfaits
This takes strawberries and whipped cream to another level by piling them into parfaits with a crumble of amaretti cookies. It’s a simple but stunning dessert you could make any time of year to rave reviews, but it is at its finest in the spring during peak strawberry season.
Make ahead: The parfaits can be assembled, covered and refrigerated up to 8 hours in advance; leave off the final topping of amaretti crumbs until just before serving.
Note: Amaretti cookies are available in Italian markets.
Recipe from nutritionist and cookbook author Ellie Krieger.
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
16 ounces strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/3 cup well-chilled heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup plain low-fat Greek-style yogurt
14 small amaretti cookies (2 ounces)
Whisk together the lemon juice and honey in a medium bowl. Add the strawberries and toss gently to coat.
Combine the heavy cream, sugar and almond extract in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer; beat for about 2 minutes on high speed until soft peaks form. Use a spatula to gently fold in the yogurt.
Place the cookies in a zip-top bag; seal, pressing as much air out as possible, then use a rolling pin or mallet to crush them to the consistency of large crumbs.
To make the parfaits, dollop 1 tablespoon of the whipped cream mixture into each serving bowl or glass. Top each portion with 2 tablespoons of the cookie crumbs, then a quarter of the dressed, sliced berries. Complete the layering with 1 tablespoon of the whipped cream mixture, then 1 tablespoon of cookie crumbs. Serve right away.
Grilled chicken breasts with strawberry red wine balsamic sauce
Recipe by Driscoll Strawberry Associates.
1 package (16 ounces or 3 cups) strawberries, divided
4 teaspoons light olive or vegetable oil, divided
2/3 cups sliced shallots
1 clove garlic, pressed or chopped
1 small bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cups red wine
3/4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons cold water
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (4 to 5 ounces each)
Hull and slice strawberries. Set aside.
Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots, garlic, bay leaf and thyme and stir until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 3/4 cup sliced strawberries and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add balsamic vinegar and simmer 1 minute. Add wine and simmer until liquid is reduced to about half. Add broth and simmer 5 minutes.
Whisk cornstarch and water together. Add mixture to saucepan and boil for 1 minute, stirring until thickened. Strain sauce and season with salt and pepper. Reheat just before serving.
Coat chicken with remaining 2 teaspoons oil; season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill or broil 4 to 5 minutes per side, until internal temperature is 170 degrees. Serve chicken with remaining sliced berries and warm strawberry sauce.
Per serving: 248 calories; 8g fat (1g sat.); 63mg chol.; 25g protein; 16g carbohydrate; 9g sugar; 3g fiber; 236mg sodium; 47mg calcium.
Couscous salad with strawberry and mint
Note: If salad is prepared more than 1 hour before serving, add the dressing to just the couscous, celery and mint in the bowl, stirring in the strawberries later, about 20 minutes before serving. (This will keep the strawberries from getting mushy.)
Adapted from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
2 teaspoons lime zest
3 tablespoons lime juice (from 3 limes)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 1/2 cups cooked couscous (1 cup dry)
1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
1/2 cup celery
1/2 cup loosely packed torn fresh mint leaves, plus leaves for garnish
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta, optional
Place lime zest and lime juice in small screw-top jar. Add olive oil, honey, salt and pepper. Shake vigorously until dressing is amalgamated.
Place cooked couscous in large serving bowl. Add strawberries, celery and mint leaves. Drizzle dressing and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and top with more mint leaves and, if using, the feta.
Balsamic-macerated strawberries with basil
Recipe from the Chicago Tribune.
2 pounds fresh strawberries
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
8 basil leaves, plus more for garnish
Pound cake or sweet biscuits for serving
Crème fraîche or sweetened whipped cream, for serving, optional
Rinse, hull and slice strawberries.
Toss with sugar and balsamic vinegar; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes until berries have released juices. (Don’t exceed 90 minutes; they’ll collapse).
Stack 8 basil leaves, roll up, then thinly slice across roll. Spoon berries into dishes and garnish with basil; or top pound cake slices with berries and finish with crème fraîche.