Going to Pungo?

Categories:Recipes, Seasonal

By Becky Loomis

Don’t get me wrong - I will never turn down a strawberry shortcake made with Nancy Silverton’s all-butter biscuits and real whipped cream. Nonetheless I have a lingering childhood suspicion of fruit passed off as dessert and my preferred use of in-season local strawberries, aside from snacking, is salad.

Here’s one to try, followed by a cocktail recipe. Making salad reminds me of swimsuit season, and suddenly I’m thirsty for something with a tiny umbrella in it.

Late Spring Salad of Strawberries and Macadamia Nuts
For the salad:
1 large head butter lettuce
1 large bunch mint, or about ½ cup roughly torn leaves
Pint of strawberries, hulled and sliced lengthwise
¼ cup roughly chopped roasted salted macadamia nuts
Freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing:
¼ cup buttermilk
¼ cup good quality mayonnaise (Sir Kensington’s or Duke’s)
¼ cup TASTE Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ cup sherry vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
Sea salt to taste

I won’t patronize you by telling you how to make a salad. I think Nigella Lawson would suggest that you combine the first lot, and combine the second lot, and then toss them all together. If you want everything to look more food-styled, you could leave the strawberries out and arrange them on top at the end. Tag that photo with [?] on Instagram!

Strawberries and Basil with Rum
Fresh Basil – several leaves per drink
Fresh strawberries – 2-3 per drink
Limes – 1 per drink
Dark rum, Cruzan or Mount Gay are good choices (do not use spiced rum)

You needn’t make simple syrup for this cocktail which qualifies it as an easy summer drink. Put two or three large sliced strawberries and a few basil leaves in the bottom of a lowball glass. Add the juice of one lime and two tablespoons of sugar and muddle. Add ¼ cup rum (I do a little less for my mother) and stir to dissolve sugar completely. Add seltzer till glass is ¾ full, then fill glass with ice. Repeat per serving. For the first round you should take the trouble to garnish each cocktail with sliced strawberries and basil. After that you can switch to tiny umbrellas.

If you decide to go rogue with your Pungo strawberries, stop by TASTE for: Coop’s Microcreamery Original Hot Fudge Sauce and a bottle of Gerard Bertrand Brut Rosé.

Shop some of my favorites:
TASTE Extra Virgin Olive Oil, available at TASTE
Outer Banks Sea Salt - available at any TASTE location

Becky Loomis is a friend of TASTE, freelance writer and recipe developer based in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania who would like to make a breakfast sandwich for you.