There are certain foods that capture their season. Rhubarb and strawberries are full of sunshine. They taste like picnics and feel like warm grass against your feet. In Scandinavia, these fruits are local and taken very seriously; it’s hard to find a grocery store not proudly stocking boxes of Dansk jordbær (Danish strawberries).
Here’s how to take advantage when you see those ruby-red colors in your produce section:
Baked Rhubarb Spinach Salad
This is a sweet summer salad with a bit of warmth to it; perfect for an outdoor dinner or a hearty and nutritious lunch. (Serves 4 – 8 depending on portion size)
1 bag baby spinach leaves, washed
1 cup roasted walnuts, chopped
1 cup baked rhubarb
1 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette to taste
- Set oven to broil. Chop rhubarb into 1-inch pieces and put in baking pan. Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 15 minutes or until soft. Allow to cool slightly, then drain.
- Roast walnuts on a pan until slightly brown on both sides. Be careful not to burn!
- Make Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Toss rhubarb, spinach and strawberries together. Coat with dressing to your personal taste, then sprinkle walnuts on top. Serve and enjoy!
Rhubarb & Strawberry Upside Down Cake
This not-too-sweet cake is fabulous after a light meal or with a cup of tea in the afternoon. It’s great with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, which balances the slightly grainy texture. There’s enough fruit to make it a great breakfast cake as well – a treat on a weekend! If stored in an air-tight container and refrigerated, it will keep for up to a week. (Serves 8)
1 cup sliced fresh rhubarb
3/4 cup orange juice, divided
3 tablespoons raw sugar
2 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
3 large eggs
2/3 cup olive oil or coconut oil
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 1/2 cups white all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with olive oil or whichever oil you’re using.
- Combine rhubarb, 1/4 cup orange juice and sugar in a medium bowl and let macerate for 10-15 minutes, mixing occasionally. Stir in strawberries, then spread fruit in baking pan.
- Whisk eggs, oil, brown sugar, orange zest, vanilla and the remaining 1/2 cup orange juice in a large bowl. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Pour batter on top of the fruit.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake layer comes out dry and the top of the cake is starting to brown, about 40 minutes (check at 30).
- Run a knife around the outside of the pan and shake gently to loosen. Invert the cake onto a serving plate. Let the cake cool to room temperature before serving, about 2 hours. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.
Scandinavian Summer Cocktail
We’re calling this one the “Scandinavian Summer” because, well, that’s what it tastes like. For the infused liquor, we used local Swedish Purity Vodka, which is produced in a 13th century castle because, of course it is. (Serves 1)
1 shot Strawberry & Rhubarb-infused vodka
45 ml Orange Juice, freshly squeezed
Mix infused vodka and orange juice over ice in a cocktail glass of your choice. Add soda water to taste, mix and add a strawberry on the top of the glass for garnish. Cheers!
Try any of these simple recipes on a warm night for a tart, tangy and slightly sweet taste of summer.
What’s your favorite summer taste?
Photos by Freya McOmish; Silver Pie Server by Magisso