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.
All photos by Krista Bjorn, except lead photo by saaleha.