Let Happy Help You Make Some Sexy Springtime Stuffed Strawberry Snacks
This stuffed strawberry recipe puts traditional berries and cream on its head. Bring it to a cookout to overshadow the incompetent dolt working the grill. Alternatively, make some to impress the pants off your significant other (or other individual off whom you’d like to impress the pants, regardless of intent to significate). Or just a few for your own sad, lonely self. It’s easily scalable, so the amount you make is not important. The seasonality of the strawberries and the funk in the filling are what’s important.
Locally-grown strawberries are showing up at farmers’ markets in the South and Mid-Atlantic, supplanting the Florida and California grown varieties already available in the supermart as the season makes its way up the latitudes. When they’re fresh and very ripe in your neighborhood, it is the time to execute this recipe. You will need:
- Fresh, ripe strawberries
- Blue cheese (funkier and creamier the better, but we’ll discuss*)
- Walnuts (optional; opting out is recommended for people with nut allergies)
- Fresh basil leaves
Yup, that’s it. Quality of ingredients and culinary technique rule the day.
For the nuts, you have choices. Incorporated in the filling or just on top? If just on top, half walnuts or coarsely chopped? If in the filling, are you planning to pipe or spoon? If piping, be sure to chop them fine enough to make it through your piping rig. No matter what, toast them up in a pan, and chop accordingly (or not). Also, no matter what, when you say “nut” make the “n” sound last two to three seconds and pronounce the “u” like there’s an umlaut over it. (If you don’t think that’s funny, try again after you remove the stick from your ass.)
Chiffonade most of the basil, but save some leaves for garnish.
Mix the cheese, basil chiffonade, and nuts, if you’re putting them in the filling, together in a bowl. If the cheese you’re using is dry and crumbly, as opposed to wet and creamy, you’re going to have to do something about that: mix in some softened butter and/or regular cream cheese (and a drop or two of cognac). Use an electric mixer to whip all that stuff up together. Leave the stuffing in the bowl if you’re going to spoon it into the berries, or load it into your piping apparatus.
Gently clean and dry your berries. Sometimes they grow sitting right there on the ground, so they’re dirty. And they’re delicious for all kinds of creatures, so they probably have some pretty nasty chemicals on them. You must be gentle because of how ripe these suckers are. They will smash very easily.
Hull the strawberries, so as to create a cavity to fill. To do this, hold a paring knife between your thumb and index finger just about a quarter of an inch from the tip of the blade. (The paring knife is the little cute one. DON”T BE FOOLED BY ITS CUTENESS; IT WILL CUT A BITCH [of any variety].)
Hold a berry in your other hand; insert the sharp point into the top of the fruit next to where the leaves are, kinda at an angle toward the very center of the fruit. Carefully, rotate the strawberry and your knife hand in opposite directions until you’ve gone all the way around the top. Go with the flow. Read the signs the strawberry is sending you. Remove the top and core or “hull.”
It takes a little practice not to cut yourself and/or more of the strawberry than we want to, so take your time. Don’t fret if you mess one up; eat it right there. No one will ever know; that’s cook’s privilege. On the other hand, if you cut yourself, take care of that before we continue.
Pipe or spoon the stuffing into the berries. Sprinkle with chopped nuts or put a half of a nut up on there. Stick a basil leaf in there, as if it were the leaf the strawberry came with. BOOM! (That’s English for “Voila!”)
You may drizzle fancy balsamic vinegar over the whole deal if you must, but we will be insulted.
*Today, we’re using a gorgonzola dolce, which is not the funkiest, but it’s creamy. The creaminess will help pipe the cheese into the strawberries. Generally, we prefer a really funky blue to pair with the nearly-rotten ripeness of the berries, but since it’s still early in the strawberry season, our funk-ripe quotient should be okay. As the season progresses, more funkiness will be required to keep the balance. Right about now, the funk-ripe quotient. Check it out now, the funk-ripe quotient. That’s the mantra.