Monday, June 13, 2011

Green Strawberries

What is the idea behind using unripe strawberries, you might ask? Indeed, that is the question my farmers were asking two years ago, when I first started asking them to pick their strawberries after they had fully grown, but before they could ripen into the familiar blushed red jewels so widely known and loved. I first asked Leslie of Viridian Farms, and Dave of Creative Growers. Dave said, "What the hell do you want that for?" Not entirely sure myself, I answered, "Think of it as an early gooseberry."

Guided by the beloved tradition of using green tomatoes at the end of the season, and making verjus from the unfermented juice of unripe grapes, it seemed to me there must be some virtue to unripe strawberries in the days leading up to the summer solstice.

Last year, the green strawberries were glazed in a piquant gastrique and served with duck breast, toasted buckwheat, rhubarb and chard. This year, they are gently poached and pickled, and accompany a chilled salad of squid with raw kolrabi and agretti (a crunchy green plant of Italian origin). The salad is dressed with lemon, buttermilk and arugula oil. It is a nice mosaic of green and white, with textures both crisp and supple. Come try it soon, as green strawberries don't stay green for long.

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