You know that thing that people say about tomatoes in England. You know, that we get all the crappy tomatoes – that Italians keep all the best, most delicious tomatoes for themselves and that if we ever want to experience the taste of a proper tomato than we have to go to Italy and tussle with the locals on the market to be in with a chance on joining their secret tomato club.
Well, I think our strawberries are their tomatoes. I imagine scores of Europeans meandering around the market, picking up various punnets of strawberries for a sniff before putting them back down with a look of distaste and muttering something about the English keeping all the best strawberries for themselves, “they never send them over here”.
Now I have not a scrap of evidence to back this up, it’s a theory. In fact it’s not even as cement as a theory, more of a musing I suppose, bought on by my belief that there can’t possibly be another strawberry in all the world that exceeds the delicious pop of an English strawberry in high summer.
The strawberries at this time of year grown on our own beautiful soil really are second to none. Their sweet and juicy flavor along with that irresistible scent is incomparable to the imports we receive through the rest of the year.
There are many beautiful ways to enjoy the English strawberry over the course of your summer. One of my favorites has the be the under-rated and under-produced strawberry sandwich. First made for me by lovely Lisa who was one of my employer’s when I got my first job in a lovely local pub, it’s basically a jam sandwich at the height of sophistication.
Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
- A lovely artisan loaf of bread – I find quite a dense texture is good
- English strawberries – sliced no wider than a centimeter
- Runny honey
- Balsamic glaze
- Fresh Basil
- 1 un-waxed lemon
- Fresh groundBlack pepper
- Sea Salt
In a small bowl, mix your ricotta with the zest from the lemon and a little salt and pepper
Slice your loaf into fairly slim slices, or ask your bakery to slice in their machine ready for you
Assemble your sandwich with a generous amount of ricotta on each side of bread, layers of strawberry slices on one side, a drizzle of honey, a few drops of balsamic and scattering of roughly chopped basil. Put your slices together and voila.