June 20, 2013

Berries on the menu

Southern Maine chefs and bakeries are taking advantage of the season's fresh strawberries.

By Meredith Goad mgoad@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Here's a sampling of what's available now:

click image to enlarge

At Sea Glass in Cape Elizabeth, chef Mitchell Kaldrovich will be serving a strawberry and spinach salad made with baby spinach, goat cheese, pine nuts, fresh strawberries and a honey-sherry vinaigrette.

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• At The Black Birch, 2 Government St., Kittery, in addition to their strawberry cake with lemon whipped cream (see recipe), they'll be serving a strawberry shortcake dessert and a strawberry rhubarb shrub cocktail. The cocktail is made with macerated strawberries and rhubarb, turbinado sugar, cider vinegar, soda water and a splash of rum or vodka. It will also be available in a non-alcoholic version.

Abbondante Trattoria & Bar, 27 Western Ave., Kennebunk, is serving a strawberry-based bourbon cocktail called Route 9. It's made with bourbon, muddled local strawberries, ginger and honey syrup and rhubarb bitters.

• Enhance your oysters with a strawberry mignonette at One Dock at the Kennebunkport Inn, located in One Dock Square. The restaurant is serving local oysters accompanied by a strawberry sherry gastrique mignonette made with fresh minced strawberries, shallots, celery leaf and sea salt.

• At Royal River Grillhouse, 106 Lafayette St., Lower Falls Landing, Yarmouth, they're serving a baby spinach and strawberry salad made with fresh berries, local goat cheese and toasted almonds topped with a chunky mango jalapeno dressing.

• Merrilee Paul, co-owner of 50 Local, 50 Main St., Kennebunk, personally makes the jam for the restaurant's "Jam Jar" cocktail with her grandmother, using her grandmother's recipe. The cocktail contains vodka, the housemade strawberry jam, rhubarb simple syrup and fresh lemon. The rhubarb simple syrup is made from rhubarb picked from Paul's grandmother's garden.

• Chef Amy Acheson of 20 Milk Street in Portland's Old Port has added a strawberry dessert called "The Berry" to the menu that is a twist on strawberry shortcake. It's made with anise shortbread, vanilla double cream, fresh strawberries, tarragon syrup and housemade strawberry sorbet.

Academe at the Kennebunk Inn, 45 Main St., in addition to its strawberry and rhubarb ginger shortcakes (see recipe), will be serving a strawberry and white balsamic sorbet, which is also used in a strawberry Cosmopolitan cocktail.

• The pastry chef at Walter's, 2 Portland Square in Portland, is making a British dessert called Eton Mess. It's whipped cream, meringue kisses and sliced strawberries all folded together. "Pretty simple yet very popular," says chef/owner Jeff Buerhaus.

The Frog and Turtle, 3 Bridge St., Westbrook, is known for its homemade doughnuts. During strawberry season, chef/owner James Tranchemontagne says, they'll be serving a strawberry and rhubarb donut during brunch.

• Both El Rayo Taqueria and the El Rayo Cantina, 101 and 85 York St., Portland, will, of course, be serving strawberry margaritas. The kitchen at the Cantina will be making a strawberry anise-scented compote to go on top of a Mexican rice pudding. A strawberry Cajeta Texas toast will be added to the brunch menu.

• At Sea Glass, the restaurant at Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, you'll find strawberries in cocktails and on the dessert menu in a strawberry shortcake. Chef Mitchell Kaldrovich is also serving a light summer strawberry and spinach salad made with baby spinach, Fern Hill goat cheese, pine nuts, a generous helping of fresh strawberries and a honey-sherry vinaigrette.

Blue Rooster, 5 Dana St. in Portland, is making a refreshing "strawberry-aide" of muddled fresh Maine strawberries, lemon juice, fresh mint and sea salt. The restaurant will also be making some special dessert parfaits during strawberry season. Check the Blue Rooster Facebook page or Twitter (@blueroosterfood).

• Want to take some strawberry goodness home? At the Cookie Jar, 554 Shore Road, Cape Elizabeth, you'll find angel cake frosted with fresh strawberry buttercream, as well as honey-dipped donuts and cake donuts covered in fresh strawberry icing.

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