It’s an unlikely combination, but one that works.
Like, really works.
It’s spring here in Texas, weather-wise if not quite calendar-wise yet. With all this beautiful weather comes a flood of fresh produce that no longer requires considering a second mortgage, unlike that sad-looking, coffee stirrer-thin asparagus for $5/lb that was out barely a month ago.
Strawberries are abundant, wonderful, and on sale everywhere right now. But since some of my favorite strawberry recipes involve flour and sugar – two things that I’m trying to avoid right now – we decided to try to be a little more creative and focus on more on non-baked-good alternatives.
Enter Strawberry-Avocado Salsa, stage right.
The salsa is simply a tomato-less twist on pico de gallo… with strawberries. And avocado. And orange and lemon juices in place of lime. But other than that, you know, it’s exactly the same kind of wonderful that goes great with fish and chicken and chips and tortillas.
We whipped up a batch for a tortilla- and chip-less (but not margarita-less!) taco night on the patio – and it was pretty perfect. There’s a lot going on with the salsa: heat from the pepper, the sweetness from the strawberries, the richness of the avocado, and the acidity from the citrus. And all that goes on top of smokey, grilled salmon filet.
A white fish would work pretty perfectly, too. And so would chicken. A tortilla might make it even better… as would a side of tortilla chips to handle the leftover salsa.
Grilled Salmon with Strawberry Avocado Salsa
Smokey grilled fish topped with a sweet-meets-heat salsa of strawberries and avocado.
- Juice and zest of 1/2 orange
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- Small handful of cilantro, chopped
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (plus extra for oiling grill grates)
- 4 salmon filets (~6 oz each)
- 1/2 pint of strawberries, hulled and diced
- 1 large avocado, diced
- 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
- 1 jalapeno, seeded (or not) and diced
- Small handful of cilantro, chopped
- Juice of 1/2 orange
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Pinch of salt
- Heat your grill to medium-high and oil your grill grates to prevent the fish from sticking.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients and then transfer to a shallow dish.
- Place the fish skin-side up in the marinade and let sit for 10 minutes. (If you're using a skinless fish flip after 5 minutes; if using chicken, try to let it marinate for as long as possible.)
- Transfer the fish to the grill, skin-side down and cook for ~10-12 minutes, until the thickest part of the fish is opaque.
- While the fish is cooking, stir together the ingredients for the salsa in a medium bowl.
- Serve the fish, seasoned with additional salt & pepper, topped with a generous scoop of salsa.
Yields: 4 servings
Estimated time: 30 minutes
I absolutely adore the strawberry + goat cheese combination. Sweet, juicy, in-season strawberries meet a creamy, tangy goat cheese. It’s a combination that knows no limits: appetizers, sandwiches, and even dessert.
Toss those strawberries with a good balsamic vinegar and peppery arugula, and pile it on some crusty French bread?
There’s a perfect balance, a combination of sweet and savory flavors, in each bite. Call it heavenly, call it perfection, or just call it lunch. But do set aside some of your strawberries this season to make a sandwich.
Strawberry Panini with Arugula and Goat Cheese
Lunch goes meatless with the sweet-savory combination of strawberries, balsamic, arugula, and goat cheese.
- Strawberries, hulled and sliced
- Drizzle of balsamic vinegar
- Handful of arugula
- Pinch of salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- Goat cheese, at room temp
- Loaf of crusty bread
- Preheat a grill pan or panini maker.
- Place strawberries in a bowl, lightly drizzle with balsamic vinegar, and toss.
- Split the loaf of bread in half and spread both sides with desired amount of goat cheese.
- Top with strawberries, a pinch of salt, a couple grinds of black pepper, and a handful of arugula.
- Top with the other half of the loaf and grill until golden brown and the goat cheese melts.
- Serve hot. Warm. Or even cold as leftovers.
Yields: Servings vary
Estimated time: 15 minutes
I absolutely fell in love with the idea of roasting strawberries with basil long before I even took the first bite. Because after 30 minutes in the oven, my kitchen smelled amazing.
My mother-in-law once served us cheesecake drizzled with basil syrup for dessert. Back then, the idea of basil going anywhere near something that wasn’t tomatoes and mozzarella was completely a foreign concept to me. And that, of course, meant that I was first in line to snag a slice. But it really works perfectly with strawberries, and much better than mint, if you ask me.
Cooking the strawberries concentrates the flavors and softens the berries, leaving them with a texture similar to thawed, frozen berries but a taste 1000 times better. Cooking them with basil and pairing them with tangy goat cheese on a crispy slice of toast?
The basil and goat cheese cut the sweetness of the berries, lending it a more savory bite. It’s an appetizer perfect for a summer dinner party.
Or a March lunch.
Three days in a row.
Roasted Strawberry Crostini with Basil and Goat Cheese
Basil, goat cheese, and roasted strawberries offer a savory twist to this strawberry appetizer.
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 5 large basil leaves, torn or cut into several pieces
- 12 oz strawberries, hulled
- Pinch of salt
- Small baguette, sliced into 12-16 1/2-inch slices
- Olive oil
- 4 oz goat cheese, softened
- Small basil leaves, for garnish
- To make the basil syrup, heat water and sugar in a small saucepan until hot and remove from heat.
- Add basil leaves and let sit 15 minutes. Discard the leaves.
- To roast the strawberries, heat the oven to 300.
- Place the strawberries into a small baking pan (I used an 8x8) and pour the basil syrup over top. (I used medium strawberries, if yours are very large, consider cutting them in half).
- Roast for ~1 hour, until the berries have softened. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Increase oven to 425.
- Drizzle the baguette slices with olive oil and bake 5-7 minutes, until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven, and while still warm, spread with goat cheese.
- Use a spoon to break up the berries a bit, and then scoop a spoonful onto each crostini.
- Drizzle with additional basil-strawberry syrup.
- Garnish with small basil leaves and serve.
- Leftover basil-strawberry syrup will keep up to a week in the fridge - it's wonderful over yogurt and ice cream.
Yields: 12-16 servings
Estimated time: 1 hour 30 minutes
I try to steal away an hour or so of each weekend to make breakfast ahead of time for most of the upcoming week. Muffins, waffle batter, scones, kolache… something to make our early week rush a little more efficient. Something we can grab with one hand as we’re locking the door and rushing out to preschool/work/running/gymnastics/errands.
But the time Saturday rolls around, we’re totally ready to send the munchkin to the play room while we watch from the other side of the glass with our spicy chicken biscuits and fruit cups. Breakfast of champions
With our recent strawberry haul, we made a couple batches each of strawberry muffins and scones. I used one of my favorite scone recipes, a lightened, sweetened version of a savory scone from The Pastry Queen. I also took a tip from a batch of strawberry scones that Annie made and flash-froze the strawberries first. The strawberry chunks stayed prettier, for longer, than a batch I made with unfrozen strawberries.
Tender orange-scented scones studded with fresh strawberries.
- 1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 stick chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 large orange, zested and juiced (to produce 1/4 cup of juice)
- 3/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
- 2 Tbsp coarse sugar (optional)
- Spread chopped strawberries (I quartered medium strawberries and then cut them in half for 8 pieces) on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Freeze at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt on low speed.
- With mixer running, gradually add cubes of butter and orange zest until the mixture is crumbly and studded with flour - butter bits about the size of small peas (you can do this by hand as well).
- Add frozen strawberries, orange juice, and yogurt. Mix just until all ingredients are incorporated. The dough will be very stiff.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured flat surface.
- Pat dough into a rectangle 1-inch thick.
- Cut in half down the long side and then into thirds down the short side. Cut each square into triangles for 12 scones.
- Sprinkle scones with coarse sugar, if using.
- Place scones on a lined baking sheet and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown and no longer sticky in the middle.
- Will keep ~3 days in a tightly covered container.
Yields: 12 servings
Estimated time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Calories: 188.8 | Fat: 7.2g | Fiber .9g | Protein 4.9g | Carbs 26.1g
Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 5