Tuesday, July 06, 2010

A festival of strawberries (or Susan's worst nightmare)

I can’t believe a year has gone by since I made a posting here. But with the annual summer slow down at work I have some free time again to write, and after the top chef dinner party, some real motivation and inspiration to try new things.

Wimbledon just wrapped up, which means one thing to me (the folks at the annual Harrod’s sale would think otherwise) – strawberry season in the UK. If you knew me when I was a little girl, you would know that strawberry season really is my favourite time of year. I can eat fresh strawberries for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the three snacks in between. That great lake house I grew up in, where my mom and Randy still live, is in fact credited to my love of strawberries. We went to the nearby lyman orchards to do some pick your own, and on the way home passed a strange scene – a ‘For Sale’ sign – which never happens lakefront as they get snapped up too soon. We stopped at the corner payphone and my parents made an offer without seeing the inside. (There was some real caveat emptor when they finally did see those thick shag green carpets and painted shut windows)

But back to dinner. I wanted to make an entire meal celebrating the strawberry. We have all probably had a few berries tossed onto the spinach salad, but as part of the main course and the starch? That would be a bit tricky. La Famiglia does a strawberry risotto, so I decided to start there. I did a little research on the web and learned that a strawberry risotto need not be sweet – layer it with red chillies, balsamic, parmesan and fresh basil instead – and forego stock and white wine for simple water and a bit of rose wine. It worked beautifully taste wise, but the colour could have been richer in my opinion.

For the salmon I chopped the strawberries into a simple salsa – with coriander, lime, green spring onion, red chillies, and a dash of always faithful chipotle. I coated the salmon in Katy O’s hood strawberry jam, olive oil and chipotle before pan searing it.

The accompanying salad was a base of maiche with a dressing of strawberry jam, balsamic and honey, and then a coating of goat cheese and almond slices.

We ate it with a big glass of rosé – our token single glass of rosé on a hot summer day – we say we only thirst for rosé once a year and then we’re over it. I’m hoping that the next post won’t be so long to come.


  1. at first glance I thought the risotto was refried beans-it sounds delicious regardless of color. also nice to see you're using my jams (though hood strawberries are much much better freshly picked-perhaps incentive to visit?). I preserved my way through 2 flats of hoods this weekend, and will pick from the yard tonight. Yum!

  2. "northwest mom" - is that really how you want to be portrayed? you used to be "that crazy redhead" you know...

    and we will come visit. right now we're thinking next june/july. wine and strawberries...

  3. I'm itching just reading this post. Does sound yummy, though!

  4. Love it! My mom and I still reminisce about your cooking - you spoiled us when we were visiting!

    When will you come to the US? Hopefully we'll get to see each other then!