Strawberries with lemon and lavender

Strawberries and lavendarSpring 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.

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Sweet summer apricots and mint

Apricots and mint with orange

The velvet-skinned apricot is an early arrival to the summer season. It is my favorite fruit because it is both sweet and sour.   Its place in a meal depends on its ripeness. When soft, I bake the apricots in wine and serve them as dessert. When firm, I make a salad, reminiscent of the “macedonia di frutta” I grew up with in Italy.

This is a recipe for a simple salad made with a handful of uncomplicated ingredients. Choose tart, firm apricots and marinate them with the zest and juice of an orange mixed with honey and a bunch of fresh mint. It’s as uncomplicated as that.

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