Strawberry season is fleeting by so quickly this year. It caught me a little off guard. When I was growing up, it seems we did two things with fresh strawberries. One was shortcake made with a biscuit-type round, split and, if you please, buttered. Mom sliced and lightly sugared strawberries, allowed a divine juice to form, and then liberally piled the result on the biscuit. Whipped cream topped it. On a hot day, in her opinion, that could constitute supper, a notion unfortunately not shared by my dad.
The other thing we did was make our own strawberry jam. And that was pretty much it.
Here are two more easy ways with strawberries. I learned the dessert way with strawberries from my friend Pam Gordinier back in Connecticut. At the time, 30 years ago, she was the most sophisticated cook I knew, and this was so easy that I have offered it up annually ever since. It is best if you make bowls of the sour cream and brown sugar available within arm’s reach of each person destined to eat some.
If, like so many of us, you are watching your fat intake, you can acquire fat-free sour cream or use the extra-thick yogurt now widely available. You can produce your own extra thick yogurt by lining a sieve with a dishtowel, spooning regular yogurt into it, and letting it drain for an hour or two until it is the right consistency.
The salad showed up at a potluck I attended not that long ago. The basic idea lodged itself in my memory, but which potluck and when it was, or who brought it completely escapes me. My apologies in advance to the person whose idea I have swiped.
Strawberries, Sour Cream and Brown Sugar
Large strawberries, preferably with stem still on.
A dish of sour cream or very thick yogurt
A bowl of light brown sugar
Pick up a strawberry, dip it into the sour cream, then into the light brown sugar. Eat it. (Is that all? Yes!)
Strawberry Spinach Salad
Serves three to six
4-8 ounces spinach
Half a large red onion (or to taste)
1 cup or less of strawberries
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1 tablespoon red wine, malt or balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
or your favorite vinaigrette salad dressing
Remove the big stems of the larger spinach leaves and shred the spinach into a bowl. Chop the onion finely, and toss into the bowl with the spinach. Slice the strawberries and add them to the spinach to suit your taste. Whisk together the mustard, vinegar and olive oil. Sample the dressing by dipping a spinach leaf into it, and then add salt and pepper to taste. Dress the salad lightly with the vinaigrette just before serving.