03 March 2009

Macerated Strawberries with Lemon Creme

Tired of months of the apple vs. pear debate every morning while packing my lunch, I long for something a bit more exciting in the fruit department. The other day I saw the first strawberries of the season in the grocery store and while I know they have been trucked up from Florida, I still can't resist. After sniffing a few packages to find the most fragrant (if you know a better way to pick out a good carton of berries without tasting them, do let me know so I can avoid the strange looks I sometimes get from other shopper) I put two in my basket.

I sampled a berry when I got home-- not terrible but not great either, about what one would expect in early March living in DC. The berries needed a boost if I was really going to enjoy them, so I decided to macerate them in red wine and serve them with a little cream. Soaking strawberries in red wine does sound a bit odd; I was extremely skeptical the first time I tried it out. I expected the berries to taste a bit like the raisins you get in mulled wine- overplump and alcoholic. I was surprised when I tried one and it tasted more like strawberry. I can't really explain how it works- I think it has something to do with the alcohol in the wine releasing additional flavor compounds but soaking strawberries in white wine intensifies their berry flavor. It's a good trick to use with mediocre berries but absolutely amazing with fresh, ripe summer berries. Recipe after the jump.

Strawberries with Lemon Creme
Serves 2, easily multiplied

1/2 lb (250g) strawberries
1-2 C. (250-500ml) red wine (you don't want to use an expensive bottle here- really anything you have open will do)
1 T. sour cream
1 T. Greek yogurt
1 t. sugar
a bit of lemon zest

- Cut the strawberries in half or quarters if they are large. Put the berries in a bowl and pour in just enough wine to barely cover the berries. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.

- Combine the sour cream, yogurt and sugar.

- After the berries have macerated, drain* and divide between two bowls. Top with the creme and grate a bit of lemon zest over each and serve.

*Sadly the wine is not drinkable at this point-- trust me on this one, I've tried.


kat said...

I'm craving the first little sweet strawberries we get from the farm. I like strawberries in red wine too with a little black pepper even

Cynthia said...

This is always a treat isn't it.

Sue said...

So simple and it sounds sooo good.

Emily said...

I'm craving strawberries now, too. The wine trick is a great one. I'm curious about the black pepper that Kat mentioned.

Jen said...

Thanks everyone. I'm going to have to try a bit of black pepper on top next time I have macerated strawberries. I'm a bit skeptical but-- if Kat says it's good than I am willing to give it a try.