The first strawberries came in from southern Missouri this week.
A delicate fragrance like a lady’s perfume, tickled my nose with delight.
Sitting in front of me were 24 pints of perfectly ripe strawberries, even with a tiny bit of stem attached making them almost cartoonish.
The sizes vary from big to small and their shapes from perfectly perfect to marvelously imperfect.
But the visual discrimination was set aside by the first slice of the flesh. It is flawlessly red throughout the berry even up to the tippy top of its little green hat. The ruby colored juice perspired out of the ripe fruit.
My first instinct is to eat them all, inevitably making myself sick and only being left with crimson stained lips and fingers.
But, I want to share.
I want to stand on top of a mountain proclaiming the greatness of the tiny morsels before they bruise and I’m forced to make jam.
They will be jewels any where they are placed. Strawberry short cake, chocolate dipped strawberries or simply adorning a glass of champagne.
How about a radish and strawberry salad? Oh, they would shine against the spicy coolness of the radish. Their sweetness would mellow the bitterness of the radish and tartness accentuates the flavor to a higher level. What a perfect pair.
Oh strawberry season, it may be short, but they are so concentrated with flavor, it is unforgettable.Radish and Strawberry Salad Makes 4 servings
For the herb vinaigrette dressing:1/2 cup lemon juice 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar 1 clove of garlic 1 tablespoon shallot, chopped 1 tablespoon basil, chopped 2 tablespoons honey 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1 cup olive oil
For the salad:1 pint strawberries, washed and thinly sliced with stem removed 4 to 6 medium to large radish, sliced thinly 4 cups arugula and baby spinach salad mix 1 zest of orange
To prepare the dressing: Add the lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, shallot, basil and honey in a blender. Blend on medium high speed until thoroughly pureed. Slowly stream in the olive oil. Turn off blender and season with salt and pepper.
The prepare the salad: Place the sliced strawberries on each of the 4 plates. Toss the radish and arugula with a desired amount of dressing. Portion the dressed salad on each plate. Garnish with orange zest.
Renee Kelly is the owner of Renee Kelly's Harvest in Johnson County. Her passion lies in changing the food system, one plate at a time. Her inspiration is Mother nature and the many growers in the Kansas City area.