Until the XVIIIe century, the strawberries consumed were wild strawberries, called wild strawberries. Legend has it that a certain Amédée-François Frézier acclimatized the strawberry as we now know it on French soil. When he came to Brest to direct fortification works, he planted a few strawberries from America in the Brest Botanical Garden attached to the Maritime Hospital. Then a resident of the village of Kéraliou, interested in this exotic fruit, was the first to grow a few plants of “Blanche du Chili” in his village, marking the start of a major agricultural transformation to Plougastel.
How to keep their scent
Since then, this wonderful little fruit that honors the desserts of the summer season has enjoyed a good reputation in Brittany. But those picked in the Rhône valley, the garriguettes with their elongated shape, the maras des bois close to the wild strawberries or Self small and purple, also delight gourmets.
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Like many summer fruits and vegetables, avoid putting strawberries in the refrigerator to preserve their fragrance. And for very simple recipes, refreshing salads or soups, consider combining strawberries with strong ingredients such as pepper (Timut or Sichuan), ginger and even chilli!
Dry the salty register
As for associations with aromatic herbs, be more adventurous and do not limit yourself to the eternal marriage, certainly happy, with mint. Strawberries are revealed with basil, especially with the purple variety and its scent of cinnamon. Also try lemon verbena, tarragon or salts! And if you want to simmer a good anti-waste drink: collect the strawberry stems, put them in a bottle with 50 cl of water, add a few lemon balm leaves and leave to steep for a few hours before removing the stems, you can enjoy a tasty strawberry water.
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It would be a shame to limit the culinary repertoire of strawberries to the symbolic summer desserts: strawberry, charlotte and other strawberry tarts with pastry cream. In the savory register, strawberries are sometimes an indicator, sometimes an accomplice of many ingredients such as tomato, parmesan, aged cheddar, asparagus, etc. Wake up a fantastic fresh tuna belly tartare mixed with small diced strawberries and a little Espelette pepper, all served with rocket salad .
► Chiffonade of cured ham, strawberries and pink radishes in filaments
For 4 people
8 very thin slices of Serrano ham
40 g parmesan shavings
1 long pink radish
1 pinch Sichuan pepper
1 splash of olive oil
Crush the Sichuan pepper in a mortar and mix with the olive oil. Cut the strawberries into thin slices and sprinkle them with this highly aromatic oil. Remove the skin from the long pink radishes with a zester, a row of about ten centimeters, to obtain long crimson vermicelli. Arrange the ham in a chiffonade in pretty cups with parmesan shavings, place the slices of strawberry and finish with a bush of pink radish filaments. Drizzle all over with Szechuan pepper scented oil.
► Charlotte with strawberries and coconut
For 8 people
500 g strawberries
25 cl coconut milk
20 g coconut flakes
1 vanilla pod
100 g of sugar
30 g potato starch
4 sheets of gelatin
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture is frothy. Sprinkle the potato starch and pour in the preheated coconut milk. Mix and cook over a very low heat until the mixture thickens. When the pastry cream is cooked, add the gelatine leaves, previously softened in cold water and drained, from the heat.
Line a charlotte pan with ladyfingers in the bottom and around the edge of the container. Pour a little cream in the bottom of the mold, put half of the strawberries cut into quarters, and then pour the rest of the pastry cream. Finish with a layer of ladyfingers and refrigerate overnight.
Turn out onto a plate, then garnish with coconut shavings and the rest of the strawberries.