For those of us living in cooler climates, there's great irony in the fact that Valentine's Day falls well outside of strawberry season.
Maybe that's why everyone focuses on chocolate instead, so that we don't have to face the fact that our berries are most undesirable.
This recipe for roasted strawberries is my solution to that eternal conundrum. Roasting not only enhances and deepens the flavour of the berries, it gently coaxes out their juiciness, until they slump into contented little morsels of intense strawberry flavour. It's honestly the best thing to happen to those bland out-of-season strawberries. Ever.
Add a splash of red wine and some real-deal vanilla, and these plump ruby-red berries transform into the dessert equivalent of the classic little black dress. They're classic, sophisticated, effortless and dead sexy.
I know. You've got that look on your face. That, "OK, Isabelle, that's all well and good. But what the heck am I actually supposed to do with these?" look.
Well, that's really up to you. If you're feeling fancy-shmancy, the most obvious choice would be a tangy buttermilk panna cotta or with a rich chocolate mousse.
If you're concerned about your girlish figure, layer them into a parfait between layers of non-fat Greek yogurt and toasty granola.
If you're pressed for time, spoon them onto a slice of store-bought pound cake or a scoop of reasonably good vanilla ice cream.
Trust me. You just can't go wrong... they even give a little ooh-la-la-la to my morning oatmeal, which is pretty awesome when you consider the fact that oatmeal is about the unsexiest food there is besides stewed prunes.
(That said, I probably wouldn't recommend going with oatmeal, at least for Valentine's Day.)
Red wine and vanilla turn even the blandest of winter strawberries into a luscious and indulgent treat. Spoon them onto sliced poundcake or vanilla ice cream for a simple dessert, or go fancy-shmancy and pair them with a chocolate mousse.
- 1 lb fresh or frozen strawberries, hulled
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup full-bodied red wine (like a Malbec or Shiraz)
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and red wine. Using a sharp knife, scrape out the seeds from the vanilla bean, and add to the red wine mixture. Add the strawberries, and stir until combined.
- Tumble the strawberries into a 9x13 baking dish, and bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes (or up to 1 hour, if using frozen berries), or until the sauce is thick and berries are soft and yielding.
- Category: Dessert