tThe arrival of summer heralds strawberry season in the UK, but this bright and juicy fruit is much more than sickly jams and traditional pies. Strawberries are naturally sweet and can be used to balance other savory dishes, giving everything from gazpacho to salsa. Here are 10 satisfyingly savory ways top chefs use a container—hold the sugar and cream.
Turbot and pickled strawberry
Joshua Owens-Baiglerco-founder and chef at AngelinaLondon
This is the recipe from our sous chef Khanh Tran-Thanh. For the dressing of a turbot sashimi we use fresh Alpine strawberries – they are a bit sharper. Start by making a light pickle with one part sugar to two parts rice wine vinegar and two parts water, and cook with peeled ginger and seedless chili, then let cool. Thinly slice the strawberries and add them to the pickle mix for 4-5 hours – it’s a quick pickle to preserve the fruit’s acidity and color.
We also mash strawberries and mix with olive oil, ginger, mirin, rice vinegar and yuzu kosho to make a dressing. Then finely slice and score the raw turbot, top with the dressing, followed by the strawberry pickle and serve.
Strawberry salad with strawberry salsa
Romy Gillchef, food writer and presenter
Chop a large handful of fresh coriander, 20 mint leaves, 2 chillies (or 1 tsp chilli flakes/½ tsp chilli powder) and mix with the juice of 1 lime, a little salt and 150g strawberries, cut into small cubes. Add 4 tsp olive oil and 1 small diced shallot (optional). This salsa will keep for a few days. Then make your salad: arugula and strawberries are a match made in heaven, so start with that as a base. Peel some sweet potatoes, cut them into cubes and roast them in the oven for eight minutes. Halve 400 g strawberries and mix them with the arugula and sweet potatoes in a large bowl. You can dose or stir in the salsa.
Pork medallions with strawberry sauce
Sabrina Ghayourhost of the Sabrina’s kitchen supperclub and author of Persian
Being Persian, we use a lot of fruits in savory recipes. Peel and halve 250 g strawberries and place them in an oven dish. Mix with 1 tbsp sugar, 3 star anise and a little lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and roast at 200C for 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Then take out the star anise and let the mixture get jammy. Roll lean pork fillet in ras el hanout, or any other spice mix you like, and cook over medium/hot heat for 8-10 minutes on each side, then rest. Place the strawberry sauce in the same pan to catch any remaining juices and reduce, then serve with the meat.
Spicy strawberry jam
Vitelio Reyeschef at Amazon† London
We produce a lot of strawberries in South America and I like to make a kind of fruity ketchup out of them. Sauté 100g chopped shallots with 50-80g spicy peppers (depending on the chilli – if you’re using scotch bonnet, 25g is more than enough) in a little olive oil. Add 100 g red wine and 100 g red vinegar, followed by 400 g sugar and 1 kg strawberries. Reduce and season with salt and Worcestershire sauce. Blitz together to get a jam-like texture, then serve with pork crackling or fried chicken wings. The mix of sweet and spicy is a good cleanser for the palate.
Salad Strawberry dish
Adam Woodchef at Garden shed† Cambridge
I like to make strawberries the highlight of a salad. For this dish, start by blending 3 tomatoes, 1 cucumber and 1 shallot into a pulp with 1 garlic clove, spices and herbs. Then strain to get tomato-flavored water to use in a dressing with olive oil and vinegar. For the salad itself, cut a fennel bulb, another cucumber and red onion and mix with watercress, mint, lovage and purple basil. Pick up some strawberries (sliced, then steep in balsamic vinegar for five minutes), leave some fresh and barbecue a few if you have a BBQ on. Spread over the watercress base and garnish with your dressing, picked herbs and plenty of olive oil.
Popsicles with strawberries, lime and chili powder
Karla Zazuetafood writer, cooking teacher and founder of Mexican Food Memories
I make these for my kids – it’s very simple and they love it. For 10 lollipops, mix 2 cups of strawberries with a cup of water, 2 tablespoons of agave syrup and the juice of 1 lime. Then pour into popsicle molds and freeze. Dip in chili powder before serving: in Mexico we love Tajín, a chili powder with salt and lime (also great for margaritas). We have it with everything, especially fruit. Don’t add it to the lollipop mix itself – the salt won’t freeze it properly. The sweet strawberries go really well with the savory punch of the chili.
Roast duck with pickled strawberries and mashed potatoes
Oli Browncook at Updown farmKnows
Strawberry purists, turn away now! But for the adventurous, pickled strawberries are the perfect accompaniment to fatty and light game roast duck, as well as silky creamed potatoes. Simply bring 150 ml white wine vinegar, 50 g caster sugar and water, 1 star anise and ½ tsp chilli flakes to the boil. Let the mixture cool before adding a handful of strawberries. Let them stand for 20 minutes so that the fruit is still sweet, but very lightly pickled. Then serve the strawberries alongside the duck and potatoes for a surprising but very satisfying combination.
Nicholas Balfechef founder of Levan and Larry’sLondon, and HolmSomerset
A refreshingly fruity gazpacho is perfect for summer — this recipe serves four, in seconds. Mix 4 ripe tomatoes on the vine, 1 clove of garlic, a few sprigs of thyme, 1 finely chopped shallot, 1 chopped red pepper and 500 g strawberries each with 1 tsp salt and caster sugar, plus a pinch of black pepper. Let it macerate in the fridge for up to an hour and then grind with a few mint leaves in a food processor. Then add 300 ml of olive oil to thicken. Serve with a few slices of strawberry and a drizzle of oil on top. Don’t forget to cool your bowls so they stay nice and cool.
Salad of strawberry, burrata and pink peppercorn
Mark Perkins, executive pastry chef Bee Rosewood London’s Mirror Room
Sweet and savory always go well together. My parents have an allotment garden where they grow strawberries and in the summer we always have strawberry salads. I halve strawberries and cherry or plum tomatoes, then fold in a basil pesto and basil vinaigrette (made by infusing olive oil with fresh basil and combining it with white wine vinegar). Then I sprinkle fresh baby basil leaves, crushed pink peppercorns and sea salt over the salad and garnish with burrata or mozzarella. Serve with Pimm’s – with cucumber and more strawberries! – and fresh sourdough bread.
Strawberries and steak
Callum Murphy Woods, Chef at The coal shedBrighton
Once, for a staff lunch, we had a Sichuan-coated grilled sirloin steak, sliced very thinly and deep fried, and served with wild strawberries left over from a cheesecake we had on the menu. We put them in some old balsamic vinegar for 10 minutes, whole, to lift them up a bit. Then we baked bok choy, chopped it up and mixed it with arugula, sliced spring onions and the balsamic strawberries. We dressed the greens with a dressing of 1 garlic clove (minced), a thumb-sized piece of ginger (minced), a drizzle of sesame oil, lime juice, soy sauce and a little honey, and then the steak on top. It’s sharp, funky food.