This is the second part of a short little story describing simple traditions involving an abundance of red berries. I have a few favorite ways to bring strawberries to the table and each one is a reminder of the happiness of spring and the comforts of home.
Home is neither a single place nor a static object. The name describes a feeling that expands beyond space and time. In my case the word home describes different countries. The following narrative has its origin in the Netherlands, one of the parts of this world I feel a part of.
This story is about the strawberry sandwich. Even writing the name brings a smile to my face. It’s about three simple ingredients, namely butter, bread and well, of course strawberries.
Bread is an essential part of the Dutch food tradition and in this country it is amazingly good and wholesome.
Butter, like dairy of all sorts, takes a prominent place in the low lands. For this particular kind of sandwich, one generally uses the unsalted kind.
Strawberries make an appearance in early spring and are a fundamental part of the landscape well into late summer.
The key to a perfect berry sandwich is the quality of the ingredients, of which in this part of the world there are many.
Traditionalists will spread their butter on a slice of fresh white bread. I diverge from this habit by cycling to my favorite bakery for a loaf of light whole wheat sourdough.
On each slice of bread, one spreads butter generously but not in extravagance.
The strawberries are washed, cut and subsequently layered over the butter, the more the merrier, but without any kind of exaggeration.
The sandwich is ready to be served in a deliciously pragmatic no-nonsense manner so typical of this country and culture.
I love the strawberry sandwich for this very reason.
Serve the sandwich with the very best of the three ingredients available to you. Try it as is. Don’t be tempted in other words to add mint leaves, balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, black pepper, or any number of wonderful pairings that go so well with strawberries. Keep it pure and simple.
It is definitely old school to sprinkle the strawberries with just a touch of sugar.
A strawberry sandwich is at its very best when served as soon as the sliced fruit is layered on the bread.