I’d always preferred my berries fresh, until I the day I bit into a succulent roasted strawberry. It was a revelation: The tartness of the fresh strawberry had disappeared and in its place was a wine-rich depth of flavor that at once mellowed and intensified. I was smitten.
I still love fresh strawberries, especially those picked in the wild or from the garden still warm from the sun, but I now have a soft spot for the roasted variety. They’re especially compelling on cool spring or summer nights when a storm rolls in.
Let Me Count the Ways…
I not only fancy roasted strawberries for their flavor and melting texture, but I also like them for their versatility.
They are brilliant roasted with fresh lemon zest, and are even better with fresh lime zest. I also like stirring in a bit of balsamic vinegar with a few sprinkles of black pepper or lemon pepper, or mixing in different sweeteners like real maple syrup or organic honey. I always use salted butter, loving that little bit of saltiness on my tongue that further enhances the flavor of the berries.
Roasted strawberries are delicious eaten all by themselves, but they take dishes that are normally the domain of fresh strawberries to a whole new level.
They’re great stirred into yogurt and creamy semolina porridge or scattered over thick slices of French toast or crispy hot waffles. They elevate your morning toast when combined with a thick smear of fresh goat cheese, and a lunch time spinach salad becomes a thing of beauty and richness by adding creamy Chevre, toasted almonds or pine nuts, and the jewel-like roasted strawberries.
They go marvelously over vanilla ice cream, especially with a drizzle of bittersweet chocolate sauce, and become the simplest of desserts with a few dollops of thick cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon.
Luxury at Tea Time
Although all of those are scrumptious options, my favorite way to use roasted strawberries is in a cream tea. Today, I indulged this craving by making lemon vanilla scones, which I halved, mounded with freshly whipped cream, and topped with lavish amounts of berries.
It was a blissful interlude on a busy day.
- 2 pints fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and halved
- 3-4 tablespoons granulated sugar (or honey or real maple syrup)
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- topping of choice (I like fresh lemon or lime zest, or stir in a spoonful of balsamic or fruity vinegar and sprinkle with black pepper or lemon pepper.)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Gently mix strawberries with sugar until coated. Stir in melted butter until well mixed. Add topping, and stir gently, but thoroughly.
3. Pour onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Spread in an even layer. Roast for 10-12 minutes until cooked but not mushy.
4. Serve immediately or store in fridge and reheat before serving.
Lemon Vanilla Scones
- 2 cups flour (I like half white, half whole wheat.)
- 1.5 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- zest of one lemon
- 1/2 cup butter softened enough to work with, but not melted
- 2/3 cup cold milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg, beaten
- sugar for sprinkling
1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and lemon zest together until well blended. Add in butter and cut in with pastry blender or hands. Chill for 15-20 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
3. In cup, whisk together milk and first egg. Pour into chilled flour mixture and toss with a fork to moisten until it holds together as a clumpy dough.
4. Pour dough onto a floured surface and knead very lightly, only enough to make sure the dough holds together. Press dough into circle about 1.5 inches thick. Cut into triangles and place on a baking sheet.
5. Brush tops with remaining beaten egg and sprinkle with granulated or raw sugar to give a crunchy top and sparkly exterior.
6. Bake for 12-15 minutes until scones are golden brown. Best eaten warm or at room temperature.
All photos by Krista Bjorn, except lead photo by saaleha.
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