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Author Notes: We recently dined at Lower 48 in Denver where we were served a delicious cocktail made with pickled strawberries. While the strawberry itself was not so pretty, the concentrated flavor was wonderful and I began to envision the possibilities.
I used a mixture of white balsamic for some delicate sweetness and some sherry vinegar to add a bit of depthy complexity which enriches the strawberriness of the strawberries. Tarragon and thyme are a natural choice of herb as they pair so nicely and some coriander seed added some floral notes. Szechuan peppercorns come through just slightly in the strawberries, but give the syrupy brine just a hint of that fun numbness which is really delightful when used in a cocktail. (And you should really use some of the syrup in a cocktail).
My favorite use (other than the cocktail) was this tartine. I mixed the pungent berries with fresh, sweet cherries (though I think roasted beets would also be great), added some basil and tarragon and some hefty black pepper. It topped some toasts spread with a creamy goat milk brie, but any creamy white cheese at your level of funky comfort would work well. From burrata to smoked blue cheese, I think you'd find success.
The strawberries can be added to salads, blended up with other fruits (peaches, apricots) for a spread or mixed with vegetables (beets!) for variations on the tartine. Add some sliced berries and some of the brine to soda water for a refreshing drink or mix into a cocktail. My favorite so far: pickled syrup, tequila, lime and a splash of aranciata. —savorthis
- 1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled
- 1 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt, scant
- 3/4 cup water
- 3/4 teaspoon szechuan peppercorns (optional)
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 2 tarragon sprigs
- Bring vinegars, sugar, salt and water to a simmer and stir until dissolved. Turn off heat, add peppercorns and coriander and let cool enough to the touch.
- Put strawberries, thyme and tarragon in a clean 1 liter container with a tight lid. Pour brine over strawberries, cover and refrigerate. Let pickle at least three days, agitating container occasionally. Should keep a couple weeks in the fridge while you nip off the berries and brine.
Pickled Strawberry Tartines
- 1 cup pickled strawberries, diced
- 1 cup ranier cherries (because of the lovely flavor and color), pitted, diced
- 1 tablespoon basil chiffonade
- 1 tablespoon tarragon, chopped
- black pepper
- baguette, sliced
- creamy cheese like burrata, chevre or goat brie
- Mix strawberries, cherries, herbs and a few twists of black pepper. Toast or grill sliced baguette, spread with cheese and top with fruit mixture. If you wish to mix the topping ahead of time, it will collect some juices, so top tartines just before serving.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Berry Recipe