Wild E. Strawberry

My 5-year old just discovered Wile E. Coyote from the Road Runner cartoons. She’s fascinated by his persistence in getting his dinner (the bird he is forever chasing). What she doesn’t realize is that she can be just like him.

This week her one-track mind is obsessed with wild strawberries. Our land is full of white pines that drop tons of needles, cones, branches, and pollen on everything. They also make the soil extremely acidic, which inhibits the growth of grass but is ideal for strawberries.

I would’ve never thought to eat these incredible jewels, if it weren’t for my daughter. Every day she tugs me outdoors to gather them up, which takes awhile, given their size.

They must be handled delicately; they wilt very quickly and their stems are hard to remove without damaging the fruit. Despite these challenges, we’ve managed to enjoy their warm sweet-tartness on pancakes, in yogurt, and tossed with baby greens from the garden, walnuts, and vinaigrette. Or course there’s jam too, if we could collect enough before they get devoured.

I’ve never been one for time-consuming recipes and finicky ingredients unlike my first chef employer and the beginning of my culinary education, Alice Cozzilino. She used to ask me to do things like peel the outer skin from every broccoli floret before blanching them for a crowd of 100.

When I started working for myself, I opted for ease and speed when selecting recipes, techniques, and ingredients. I’ve come to realize that this has made me overlook some amazing foods. Fortunately, my daughter’s tireless desire to pick wild strawberries has been a lesson that slow can be very, very sweet.

Here’s a recipe for Wild Strawberry Cream Scones:

  • 2 cups unbleached white flour, plus some for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 5 tablespoons cold butter, grated
  • 1/2 cup wild strawberries, stems removed and briefly rinsed
  • 1 cup heavy cream, plus 2 tablespoons for brushing

Preheat oven to 425. Blend dry ingredients. Add butter and mix till crumbly. Add strawberries and cream and stir lightly with a fork till dough comes together. Turn onto a floured surface and knead five times. Flatten with hands into a circle 3/4″ thick. Brush surface with cream and sprinkle with sugar. Cut into wedges. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 12-16 minutes. Serve warm.

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