Alex Eats: Strawberries

Every week, Alex Guarnaschelli, host of Alex's Day Off , shares with readers what she's eating -- whether it's from the farmers' market or fresh off the boat, she'll have you craving everything from comfort food to seasonal produce.

I love that the strawberry plant is a member of the rose family. There are so many things you can do with strawberries during the season, both sweet and savory. If you have a few strawberries in the back of the fridge, try boiling them with sugar and a splash of sherry vinegar to make jam for toast or a glaze for duck breasts or pork loins. You can also purée them in the blender -- mix with sugar, lime juice and some chilled seltzer water for a refreshing summer spritzer. Below is a simple recipe I like making when I get home from work with some really great strawberries.

Strawberry Tarts
Makes 8 servings

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus some additional for rolling out the dough

¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
¼ cup ice water
2 cups sliced strawberries
¼ cup raspberry jam
Splash maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Make the dough:  In the food processor, combine the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Pulse until crumbly.

Pour the cold water through the hole in the top of the machine and pulse to combine.

Roll in a ball and flatten. Chill and allow to the dough to rest. Roll into 8 circles that are 20-22 inches each in diameter. Make sure you lightly flour the surface and the top of the dough as you roll it. Refrigerate the dough balls.

In a bowl, mix the strawberries with the jam, lemon juice and maple syrup. Stir to blend and allow the fruit to macerate.

Arrange the dough balls in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, 10-15 minutes.  Drain any excess juice from the strawberries before topping the baked disks with them.

Serve with whipped cream or a scoop of lemon sherbet.

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