Farm Fresh Pick of the Week: Strawberries

Friday, February 24, 2012 13:59

Simple Salads, Cocktails, & Wine Pairings

by: Casey Pukl

Strawberries have to be one of my all-time favorite fruits. These sweet little treats are not only delicious, but they’re also versatile and incredibly nutritious! From pies to jams to salads, strawberries go with just about anything! Strawberries are packed with antioxidants and vitamin c, but to get the most out of them, try to eat them within 2 days of purchasing them. Strawberries lose their nutrients very rapidly.

Today, Sous Chef Kristen Williams is going to teach us how to make one of her favorite spring time salads featuring strawberries! I know y’all are already drooling looking at the picture, so let’s dive right in!

Kristen’s Strawberry Arugula Salad with Rhubarb Vinaigrette

To make this salad, you’ll need some fresh arugula, one avocado, shaved fennel, pickled red onions, fresh strawberries, candied pecans, and rhubarb. First, start by pickling the red onions in a little rice vinegar. To do this, simply bring the rice vinegar to a boil, remove from the heat, and pour over the onions. Let the onions and liquid cool, then strain, and your onions are ready to go! Now, onto the rhubarb vinaigrette. This recipe is super simple. Start by heating your rhubarb in some rice vinegar. Once the rhubarb has softened a bit and the vinegar is boiling, strain the rhubarb out of the vinegar, but save the vinegar! Then, add the rhubarb to your blender or food processor. Add a little bit of vegetable oil, salt, pepper, and just enough vinegar to allow the rhubarb to puree. Puree the mixture until smooth, and let it cool.

Next, use a mandolin to shave the fennel into thin slices. Slice your avocado, top with salt and pepper, and place it on the corner of the plate. Toss arugula, sliced strawberries, fennel, and pickled onions into a bowl. Add vinaigrette to taste, toss, then plate. Top with more strawberries and candied pecans. That’s it!

This salad is super easy to make, and even easier to eat! According to Kristen, this dish works well for a few reasons. “When you have strawberries, you want to pair them with something peppery. This makes arugula the logical choice for the greens. It’s a great complement to the sweetness.”

General Manager Warren Phelps had some great suggestions for wine and champagne pairings for your strawberries as well!

Looking for a good pairing for the salad you just made? The Donnhoff Riesling is a perfect choice. Crisp and acidic, this bottle has notes of tart green apple, honey, and apricot. This wine has a great smooth, long finish.

If you’re into Champagne and strawberries, the Perrier Jouet Brut is a fantastic choice. With notes of baked apples, butterscotch, and lime, this buttery champagne can’t be beat.

Chocolate dipped strawberries for dessert? Give the Chateau Raymond Lafon Sauternes a try! A sweet French dessert wine, Sauternes is usually made with a blend of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes. 2003 was their most celebrated vintage in recent history, and this bottle explodes with notes of lemon zest, apricots, oak, and spices. It has a buttery texture to it, and once again, an incredibly long finish.

The Basil Berry Swizzle
Creator: Marc Canzoneri

Fresh Strawberries
Fresh Basil
Brown Sugar Cube
Buffalo Trace Bourbon
Soda Water

Instructions: Muddle the strawberries and basil leaves together. Add the brown sugar cube and Buffalo Trace, swizzle with ice and a swizzle stick, top with soda water. Garnish with a basil leaf and cucumber slice.

Strawberries, basil, and bourbon— is there any better combination than that?

Let me answer that for you. The answer is no. This combo is divine. While hot enough to please even the most experienced bourbon connoisseur, this drink is accessible, and a great introduction to the brown spirit. The strawberries help bring out the sweeter flavors of the bourbon, but the drink still maintains a cool and fresh flavor.

 

 

 

Fire & Spice
Creator: Ryan Hussman

Fresh Strawberries
Cinnamon Simple Syrup
Fresh Lemon Juice
Hendricks Gin
Ginger Beer

Instructions: Muddle the strawberries, add the simple syrup, lemon juice, and Hendricks. Shake with ice, top with ginger beer. Garnish with fresh mint.

This drink is a seriously interesting and pleasant experience for the tastebuds. Hendricks gin is notoriously clean, dry, and packed with incredible flavors— most notably cucumber, rose, juniper, and coriander. The combination of the warm cinnamon flavor and the zesty ginger beer perfectly complement one another. The lemon juice acts as a great balance between the sweet flavors, and helps to enhance the strawberry flavors.