Recipe: Roasted Strawberries
Twice a month, Berkshire County native Alana Chernila, mother of two, and author of the cookbook, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making (Clarkson Potter), contributes a thoughtful and heartfelt essay/recipe created exclusively for Rural Intelligence readers. Her first cookbook has achieved top-seller status, and Chernila has a new one in the works, titled “The Homemade Kitchen,” due out this year.
If I were to measure the success of my June in acquired pounds of strawberries (and often I do), I’d say we’re doing well.
I’ve been to Thompson Finch Farm twice. I’ve picked about 60 pounds of berries. My freezer is stocked, we’ve had both a pie and a tart, and we’ve eaten lots and lots of berries. The picking there has been heavenly this year, and it’s easy to pick 15 pounds in an hour. If you’ve never made the trek out to Ancram, NY, this is the year to make it happen. (And if you’ve never been strawberry picking, read this before you go.)
I’ve been picking at Thompson Finch for a decade now, and half the time I still get lost on the way in or the way back. If I don’t, I tend to get lost on purpose, because it’s a great little corner of the world to explore. On our last picking expedition, we drove the wrong way out of the farm, and ended up driving by The Farmer’s Wife in Ancramdale. It was almost as if the car had a mind of its own when it passed by the perfect porch and sweet little sign — there was no way we couldn’t stop there. They had a lunch menu of six dishes, and I wanted every single one. But the trout pate sandwich with watercress and cucumbers won, and it was so good. Joey got the fried chicken sandwich, and we made plans to go back just for the little mounds of baked ricotta with pesto and roasted tomatoes. So if you need lunch after picking, it’s right there ready to feed you.
We froze most of our strawberries from the last trip, but I roasted up a tray of them, too. I’d forgotten how good a roasted strawberry is. What it really does is cook them so you can enjoy them in the fridge for a week or so, but instead of breaking them down like cooking on the stovetop would do, it keeps the strawberries whole and firm while still releasing their juice. They’re great on yogurt, ice cream, pancakes or just with a spoon.
Makes about 3 cups
2 pounds strawberries, hulled, halved if they’re small and quartered if they’re large
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Optional: freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet or large roasting pan with parchment paper.
2. Combine the strawberries, sugar, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar in a large bowl. Toss to combine, then scrape onto the prepared baking sheet. Roast until the strawberries are soft and release their juice, 30 to 35 minutes. If you want the berries to caramelize and dry out a bit, leave them in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes more. Sprinkle with pepper, if using. Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.