Strawberries and Seafood
The N.C. Strawberry Project in partnership with Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte included three cook-offs where students brought forth their most creative strawberry dishes. As I looked over the recipes, it quickly became apparent that my palette was amateur, at best, because aside from adding strawberries to my cereal, waffles or maybe a salad, I relegated it to dessert status. The trend that emerged from these budding culinary experts was pairing strawberries with seafood.
North Carolina has an impressive seafood industry and you can often find fresh coastal seafood caught weekly and sold locally in areas that are pretty far inland. Fresh water streams in the North Carolina mountains offer up additional options for fish dishes. With strawberry season coming early this year, plan now to pick up local strawberries and experiment with some new flavor combinations.
The following recipes were developed as part of the N.C. Strawberry Project. Tangy N.C. Strawberries and Shrimp is a creation of Chef Mark Allison, dean of culinary education at JWU. Strawberry and Shrimp Ceviche was the winning dish in the first cook-off, presented by Tyler Creech, JWU student. Fellow student, Shawn Guffey was awarded the title of winner in the second cook-off with the recipe for Grilled Swordfish and Strawberry-Cucumber Salsa.
Strawberry Shrimp Cocktail
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tbsp. organic honey
- 2 tsp. nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
- 1 tbsp. lemon zest, grated
- Juice and zest of 2 limes
- 2 Thai red chillies, finely diced
- 6 oz. shrimp, cooked and shelled
- 1/3 cup unsalted roasted almonds, lightly chopped
- 2 cups strawberries, cut into quarters
- 2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
- 1 tbsp. mint leaves, chopped
In a large bowl, combine the garlic, honey, nam pla, lemon zest, lime juice, lime zest and chilies. Fold in the shrimp and almonds, add the strawberries and stir to combine. Sprinkle and stir in chopped cilantro and mint, serve. Serves 4.
Strawberry and Shrimp Ceviche
- 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and tail removed
- 1 lb. fresh strawberries, quartered
- 1 cup red onion, cut into small cubes
- 1 orange, juiced
- 2 to 3 lemons, juiced
- 4 to 5 limes, juiced
- 1/2 cup cilantro, minced
- 1 cucumber, peeled, sliced and quartered
- 2 avocados, cut into small cubes
- 1 to 2 Serrano chiles, diced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Cook shrimp in boiling, salted water until done, about 2 minutes. In a bowl, combine citrus juices, onions and Serrano. Drain shrimp and add to bowl with citrus juices, refrigerate for 30 minutes. Before serving, mix in avocado, cilantro, strawberries, cucumber and salt or pepper as needed. Serve as a side dish or as a dip.
Grilled Swordfish with Strawberry-Cucumber Salsa
- 1 cup strawberries, tops removed and diced
- 1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
- 3 tbsp. cilantro leaves, freshly chopped
- 1 1/2 tbsp. red onion, minced
- 1 tsp. jalapeno, minced
- 1 tsp. Tabasco hot sauce
- 1 lime, zest and juice
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 4 (6 oz.) swordfish steaks
- 2 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
In a bowl, combine the strawberries, cucumber, cilantro, red onion, lime zest, jalapeno and Tabasco sauce. Set aside. Heat the grill to medium-high. Brush fish with olive oil, season with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill fish for about 3 minutes, give a quarter turn halfway through for grill marks. Flip and continue grilling for another 3 to 4 minutes for medium doneness. Remove from grill and place on warm serving plates. Add lime juice and dash of salt to the salsa and combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Place a generous portion of salsa onto the plate with swordfish and serve immediately. Serves 4.