Strawberries in red wine syrup is a perfect to dessert to follow a rich main course because it’s refreshing to the palate and is a very colorful finale to the entire meal. You’ll quick find that the sugary wine syrup that collects in the bottom of the bowl is the very best part. This is a dessert that comes together in a matter of a few minutes and can and should be made at least 30 minutes ahead and up to an hour.
Larry and Beverly of Big Dude’s Eclectic Wanderings enjoy RV-ing and were visiting our area so we invited them to lunch at our house by the pool. The week before we drove up to their campground where they were staying near Port Charlotte and enjoyed a delightful afternoon seafood extravaganza consisting of oysters and clams from Cedar Key, some of the freshest I’ve tasted in a very long, served several ways, grilled Gulf shrimp, Bev’s homemade sourdough rolls, hot out of the oven, my French potato salad (recipe here) and cole slaw, which we brought, and le pièce de résistance – Larry’s own grilled Oysters Rockefeller, the best I’ve ever eaten. Link here to the Larry’s recipes.
For lunch by the pool at our house, we started with spicy cranberry goat cheese log as an appetizer along with a glass of wine. I’ve served this several times lately and it’s always a hit. Feel free to use dried cherries in the place of the cranberries and substitute fresh thyme leaves for the rosemary if you wish. But whatever you do, don't leave out the candied ginger, it's the secret to the spiciness of the dish. Link to the spicy goat cheese log recipe here.
Our main course was quick French cassoulet, which has become a favorite with us and can easily be prepared a day or two in advance. Even though we’re in south Florida, the day was breezy with a very slight chill in the air, meaning low seventies, so a hearty dish such as cassoulet was perfect. Link to cassoulet recipe here. A crispy French baguette and a simple tossed baby greens salad with our house French vinaigrette, recipe to vinaigrette here, rounded out the meal.
Strawberries in red wine syrup was our dessert. Strawberries from Plant City, Florida, the winter strawberry capital off the world, are in season right now, but any good fresh strawberry is fine. Plan ahead and remember the berries need to sit in the refrigerator for up to 30 minutes and as long as an hour for the flavors to blend.
Strawberries in Red Wine Syrup
Fraises au Vin Rouge
Slightly adapted From Paris to Provence, Ethel Brennan & Sara Remington – serves 4
2 pints medium-size ripe strawberries, stems removed and cut into halves or slices if large
¼ cup sugar
1 cup red wine, such as a Cote de Rhone
Sprigs of fresh mint for garnish
Thin chocolate cookies to accompany
Place the strawberries in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the sugar over the tops of the berries and gently toss to coat. Add the red wine and gently stir the strawberries, then place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. Garnish each serving with a sprig of fresh mint. Serve slightly chilled. Great with thin chocolate cookies and a glass of red wine.