4 quick ways with STRAWBERRIES

by Chris Halpin

photos by Camie Leard

2019 Jul/Aug

There’s something romantic and a little nostalgic about a strawberry. We remember the time we had a perfect strawberry with that sweet perfume, juicy and rich…mmm.

There is a trick to getting really juicy, fragrant strawberries. When purchasing them, make sure they are mostly red and don’t look bruised or tired. Keep them in their basket, open the lid and rinse under warm-ish water, close the lid and set on the counter until the next day. After 24 hours you will find that the strawberries are ripe, juicy and full of flavour.

Beautiful kitchenware featured in this article courtesy of Zest Kitchenware Boutique. Visit them at Dalhousie Station N.W.

Strawberry and Asparagus Salad

Take 2 bundles of asparagus and, from the top, cut them in 2-inch lengths, 3 times, discarding the bottom third of the stalk. Blanch them in boiling water only until they turn shiny and a brighter green, less than a minute. Drain and cool under running water. Blot the asparagus dry and add it to a salad bowl with 20 trimmed-and-quartered underripe strawberries and ¼ c. olive oil; gently stir to evenly coat. Then add ¼ c. cider vinegar and salt and pepper to taste and toss one more time before serving. Serves 6.

City Palate, guide to the good life in Calgary - quick ways with - 2018-07-08 - Strawberry and Asparagus Salad

Peugot Salt and Pepper Mills $72/each. Berry Patch potholder $7.50. Berry Patch apron $26.95. Berry Patch oven mitt $11.00. Le Crueset Utensil Crock $65.00. Vietri Lastra Sunflower handled platter $194.00.

Strawberry Balsamico Spatchcock Chicken

Spatchcocking allows the chicken to cook in half the time it would take if it were left as a whole chicken, and it’s great for the barbecue. To a blender, add 1 small red onion, coarsely chopped, 1 c. over-ripe strawberries, trimmed, ¼ c. balsamic vinegar, ¼ c. avocado oil, 1 T. ground black pepper, 1 t. salt, 1 t. sugar, 1 t. ground coriander, and 1 t. dried oregano. Blend until almost smooth. To spatchcock a whole chicken, using a sturdy pair of scissors cut the spine out of it by cutting on both sides of the tail to the neck. Flatten out the chicken on a baking sheet, breast side up. With your hands, loosen the skin from the flesh and stuff the marinade between the skin and the flesh. Place in a preheated 375° oven or on a grill that’s been pre-heated to medium-high, and cook for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the skin is crispy and the juices run clear. Baste with the drippings from time to time while cooking. Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6.

City Palate, guide to the good life in Calgary - quick ways with - 2018-07-08 - Strawberry Balsamico Spatchcock Chicken

Peking Handicraft hooked pillow $92. Vietri Lastra oil bottle $70. Peugot Salt and Pepper Mills $72/each.

Strawberry, Avocado and Shrimp Salad Wraps

Gently combine 1 c. cooked 51-60/lb. count shrimps, ½ avocado, diced, 4 under-ripe strawberries, thinly sliced, 1 T. chopped fresh dill, 2 T. finely-chopped green onion, 1 t. horseradish, 1 t. honey, 2 T. mayonnaise, salt and sriracha to taste. Mix well, spoon onto romaine spears and enjoy. Makes 4 to 6 salad wraps.

City Palate, guide to the good life in Calgary - quick ways with - 2018-07-08 - Strawberry, Avocado and Shrimp Salad Wraps

Glass strawberry dish $10. Vietri Portofino small oval platter $155.00

Strawberries with Sour Cream and Demerara Sugar

When this combination was first offered to me as a dessert, I thought it sounded weird. But the brown sugar and sour cream do something special and surprising with the strawberry. To a bowl, add 1 c. sour cream and ½ c. demerara sugar and stir to dissolve. To 4 dessert bowls, add 6 ripened strawberries apiece, cut in quarters, spoon some sweetened sour cream over top and sprinkle some more brown sugar to garnish. Serves 4.

City Palate, guide to the good life in Calgary - quick ways with - 2018-07-08 - Strawberries with Sour Cream and Demerara Sugar

Le Creuset ice cream bowls, regular $100 for a set of four, on sale for $59.99. Le Creuset sorbet spoons. Regular $50 for a set of 6, on sale for $29.99.

Chris Halpin has been teaching Calgarians to make fast, fun urban food since 1997 and is the owner of Manna Catering Service. mannaonline.com.