Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ginger-Vanilla Roasted Strawberries

Summer Berries at Paprika Red
It's here. I wait all year for this. It's berry season in the northwest. And if the strawberries you are used to are big, mild, and white in the middle, then that's a pale shadow of what a strawberry could be. Here, our strawberry season is short lived, but glorious: small crimson berries that are red all the way through, and once picked, they only last a couple days tops.

I become rather greedy during this season, buying pints frequently and often eating them in just a day or two. Sometimes in one sitting. I have no shame, and my obsession for summer fruits like this only extends to maybe Rainier cherries (I'll have to post on those soon, too) and of course heirloom tomatoes (ditto).

But though they are nearly perfect, after a couple pounds of strawberries all to myself, I start to wonder what else I can do with them. And so we have roasted strawberries: strawberries cooked until barely holding together, giving off their concentrated juices into a thick syrup, laced with vanilla and ginger. Is it possible to improve on perfection? Maybe. Try these berries and let me know.

Ginger Vanilla Roasted Strawberries at Paprika Red

Roasted Strawberries at Paprika Red

Ginger-Vanilla Roasted Strawberries
Makes 1 pint

2 pints strawberries, hulled, large berries cut in half
2 TB granulated sugar
1 TB vanilla extract
1 tsp stem ginger*, finely chopped
1 tsp stem ginger syrup

Spread strawberries on a single layer of parchment paper on a cookie sheet, turning up edges to make sure any juices will be trapped on the paper and not run off and burn onto the cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugar and vanilla, and roast in a 250 degree oven for 50–60 minutes, or until soft and darkened. Let cool, and pour into a 1 pint or larger container with a lid. Mix in the stem ginger and syrup, and refrigerate for 1 day to let the flavors meld. Keeps for a few days in the fridge. Goes really well over ice cream, pound cake, yogurt, granola, or just eaten plain with a spoon.

*Stem ginger is a sweetened preserved ginger, found in Asian markets.

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