Posted 13th Jun 2017
With strawberry season in sight, we're at the stage of the year where fridges across the country will be full of Pavlovas, Eton messes and strawberry shortcakes
With an abundance of vitamins and antioxidants, strawberries are both undeniably delicious and nutritious. The red fruit is a key ingredient in a number of recipes over the year, yet few of us are aware of it's true versatility in the kitchen.
Whether it's breakfast, lunch or dinner, strawberries can transform any meal from the mundane to the mouth-watering.
Gary Durrant, Head Chef at Hunter 486, has offered his top tips on how to make the most of strawberry season to create unique strawberry-centric dishes.
Hot and cold
Roasting strawberries can create some tremendously tasty results, especially when paired with a generous scoop of Cornish vanilla ice-cream. To make the most of oven-baked fruit, make sure you remove the stem, before cutting it into quarters and whisking it together with a dash of maple syrup. Presentation is an important part with a summer dessert, so let the strawberry slices cool down before scattering them around neatly on top of the ice cream.
Begin at breakfast
A decadent breakfast treat is sliced strawberries with rhubarb pieces and spread over two thick slices of toast. Ensure there is a thorough fusion of flavours and press the fruit gently into the bread before chilling it in the fridge overnight. Fry your bread slices the following morning in a frying pan with plenty of butter. Feel free to add dashes of cinnamon and brown sugar too, and then serve with a generous helping of Greek yoghurt. Preparation is key with this dish but it's definitely worth the effort.
Scoop it out
Strawberry cheesecake is a well-loved classic, and a popular party pudding for any occasion. Why not re-invent the traditional recipe and try a new dinner party dessert. Simply scoop out the centre of the strawberry and fill it with a cheesecake filling. The classic combination of cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract will hold perfectly inside the fruit when served fresh out of the fridge. For an extra wow-factor, you can serve it with cinnamon glaze. Alternatively, if it's a romantic snack you're after, you can swap the glaze for a white chocolate dipping sauce.
With the weather warming up, home-made strawberry ice-lollies are a great refreshing snack. Combine the crushed strawberries with a spoonful of sugar before mixing it into a cold jug of lemonade. Then, pour the liquid into ice-lolly moulds and place a wooden stick in the centre. An alternative is to add strawberry slices to your ice cube tray and freeze overnight - this trick will transform your summer beverage from simple to spectacular in a split second.
Seasonal summer salad
Contrary to the popular belief, strawberries are not strictly reserved for the sweet-toothed. You can inject a zing into your leafy summer salad by adding balsamic glazed strawberries into the mix. Gorgonzola cheese and pecan nuts will both work particularly well with this dish.
Tips courtesy of Gary Durrant of Hunter 486