Spring arrives in April or May and slowly but surely baskets of strawberries begin to overtake the fruit vendors shelves in my neighborhood. The brighter their color, the more often I find myself cheerfully adding strawberries to my fruit macedonia and picnic-style shortcakes. The days stretch out into long evenings full of light. All of a sudden, or so it seems, deep ruby-red strawberries fill my favorite vintage porcelain plates daily in the kitchen. Just about mid-June, strawberries become so luscious and full of perfume that nothing short of a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of honey and some flowering lavender are needed for the perfect midsummer dessert. This is the moment when I hope that summer will last forever.
- 500 grams of the very best organically grown strawberries
- the zest and juice of one organic lemon
- one tablespoon organic honey
- the flowers of two sprigs of lavender from the garden
Wash a carton of fresh strawberries briefly in cold water, or brush them off with a linen cloth. Remove the green stems and cut the strawberries in half above a ceramic bowl to catch their juices. Swirl a few spoons of honey along with the flowers of blooming purple lavender into the fruit. Add the grated zest of the lemon and just enough freshly squeezed lemon juice to add a hint of tartness to the strawberries. Chill the strawberries for just one hour or bring them to the kitchen table right away.
The possibilities are endless but in the height of summer I suggest generous bowls of this fruit completely on its own. For a lovely appetizer, wrap a strawberry in a leaf of fresh basil and serve.
In Italy a mixture of cut fruits marinated in lemon juice (and often wine of some kind) is called “Macedonia”.