Branching Out with Strawberries

Savory Recipes
Strawberry Mustard
Strawberry Onion Relish
Strawberry and Goat Cheese Pizza
Strawberry Salsa
Strawberry Gazpacho

Sweet Recipes
Quick Strawberry Jam
Roasted Strawberry Sauce
Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote

Strawberry grower associations would like everyone to eat more strawberries. One way they are trying to make that happen is to promote the idea that the fruit is more than just a dessert ingredient. After all, they have the same combination of acidic and sweet flavors as tomatoes at their summertime best.


strawberries from the farmers market in Uptown New Orleans, Louisiana, March 25, 2006, photographed in Audubon Park

So try substituting strawberries for tomatoes, suggests the California Strawberry Commission. “The results will amaze you.” Strawberries are also “a perfect foil for smoked salmon and cured meats,” and they “pair perfectly with proteins,” particularly richer meats and firm-fleshed fish that are often seasoned with fruity sauces, says the California growers’ group. Try, for instance, serving strawberry salsa or chutney with ham, pork chops, duck or salmon. Or, “roast strawberries quickly in a hot oven to make a full flavored jam that can be used as a sweet or savory sauce or dressing base, condiment or sandwich ingredient (think cranberry sauce).” Several of these savory strawberry recipes are from the recipe-rich web sites of the California Strawberry Commission and the Florida Strawberry Growers Association.

I’ve also included my long-time favorite savory strawberry recipe: strawberry mustard. I got it back in the 1990s from Mary Jane Loper, a master food preserver who was a regular presence in those days at the Hollywood Farmers Market in Los Angeles. (For yet another unconventional use of strawberries, check out this strawberry omelette recipe from the most famous chef in San Francisco a century ago.) For those who aren’t so adventurous, you’ll find on this list a classic, basic – and perfectly delicious – strawberry jam.

– Mark Thompson

Strawberry Mustard [top]

½ cup dry mustard (Coleman’s)
2 tbs water
2 cups pureed strawberries
1 cup vinegar (white wine or cider)
½ cup minced onion
½ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
½ tsp. tumeric
2 tbs minced pineapple sage (optional)

1. Sift mustard, combine with water, let sit.

2. Combine remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook for two minutes.

3. Whisk (do not stir) ¼ cup hot mixture into mustard until smooth. Repeat, using ¼ cup hot mixture each time until all is blended. Cool and refrigerate. Will keep for several weeks

Source: Mary Jane Loper

This relish recipe was created by Jennifer Denlinger, a chef with the Le Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts in Orlando, to serve during a presentation in her classroom by the Florida Strawberry Growers Association. She used “actual strawberry onions,” according to the association, which proceeded to explain what they are. “If you have ever been to Hillsborough County during the Florida strawberry growing season, you’ve probably seen these onion plants lining the edges of the strawberry fields. Some farmers plant them to keep out pests that would ordinarily go after the delicious Florida strawberries. Either way, the end result is a delicious Savannah Sweet Hybrid Onion with a hint of strawberry sweetness. The next time you’re in Strawberry Capital of the World, make sure to look our for some strawberry onions at the fruit stands and farmers markets. Meanwhile, try this recipe with your favorite sweet onion.”

Strawberry Onion Relish [top]

2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 large strawberry onions, diced into ½ inch cubes
1 pint of strawberries, lightly pureed
1 tbsp granulated sugar
Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

1. In a sauce pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook slowly stirring frequently. This will soften and caramelize the onions until they become delicate and sweet. Cook the onions until they are soft and the color of light brown sugar.

2. Add the strawberries, sugar, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and continue to cook over medium low heat until thick. Remove from heat and let site for 15 minutes.

3. Serve warm or room temperature over fresh French bread or paired as a chutney with meats such as chicken breast, turkey, or seared duck breast.

Source: Florida Strawberry Growers Association

Strawberry and Goat Cheese Pizza [top]

Pizza dough
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup aged balsamic vinegar
½ cup (4 ounces) softened goat cheese
4 cups fresh California strawberries, hulled and quartered
¼ cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
Coarsely ground black pepper
Baby arugula and frisée

1. Make the white balsamic vinaigrette by simmering white balsamic vinegar in a small nonreactive saucepan until reduced to 1 ½ tablespoons. Whisk in extra virgin olive oil.

2. Make the aged balsamic reduction by simmering aged balsamic vinegar  in a small nonreactive saucepan until reduced to about 4 teaspoons.

3. Heat oven to 400°F. Divide pizza dough into four pieces and on lightly floured surface, roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Place on a baking sheet; bake in 400°F oven 10 minutes or until firm and slightly brown.

4. Spread pizzas with softened goat cheese, leaving a ½-inch border. Toss strawberries with white balsamic vinaigrette; arrange strawberries evenly on goat cheese. Bake 10 minutes more.

5. Remove from oven; scatter crumbled goat cheese on top. Drizzle with aged balsamic reduction; sprinkle with black pepper. Garnish pizzas with a few leaves of arugula and frisée.

Source: Florida Strawberry Growers Association

Strawberry Salsa [top]

1 cup diced fresh strawberries
½ cup diced mango
¼ cup diced papaya
¼ cups diced pineapple
2 tablespoons diced red onion
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 ½ teaspoons rice vinegar
Salt and black pepper
Cayenne pepper

1. Gently mix together all ingredients; season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.

Source: California Strawberry Commission

The California Strawberry Commission recommends serving this gazpacho over a jicama salad, with a large dollop of fresh goat cheese on top. The jicama salad they suggest is composed of peeled and julienned jicama, dressed with chopped chives and thyme and olive oil, with salt and pepper to taste.

Strawberry Gazpacho [top]

6 lbs. fresh strawberries, stemmed and chopped
2 ¼ pounds plum tomatoes, chopped
1 ½ pounds English cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
9 cloves garlic
3 jalapeño peppers
1 ½ cups Sherry vinegar
Salt and black pepper as needed

1. In a blender, purée strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, jalapeños and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. yield: 24 cups

Source: California Strawberry Commission

Quick Strawberry Jam [top]

1 pound strawberries, trimmed and cut in half
2/3 to 3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons powdered fruit pectin
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1. Mash strawberries in a large bowl using a potato masher or fork. Add sugar, pectin and lemon juice. Stir well.

2. Pour mixture into a 12-inch nonstick skillet and boil until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet and pour into a bowl to cool. Once jam is at room temperature, cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve. Jam will keep, chilled in an airtight container, for 2 weeks

Source: Florida Strawberry Growers Association

Roasted Strawberry Sauce [top]

4 ½ cups (about 1 ½ pounds) fresh California strawberries, stemmed and quartered
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean

1. Heat oven to 350°F. In blender, purée 1 ½ cups of the strawberries; strain through fine-meshed strainer, pushing on strawberry purée with a spoon. Combine purée with remaining 3 cups strawberries and sugar.

2. Slit vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out seeds; add bean and seeds to strawberry mixture. Let stand 10 minutes; transfer to shallow baking dish large enough to hold strawberries in one layer. Roast in oven about 20 minutes or until strawberries are cooked and juices have reduced to a syrup.

Source: California Strawberry Commission

Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote [top]

3 cups diced rhubarb
3 cups diced strawberries
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
pinch of salt

1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, bring to a simmer and lower heat to medium-low. Cook for 15 or 20 minutes until rhubarb softens, stirring from time to time.