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Seasonal strawberries an ideal part of salsa

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June is of course strawberry time, but not the hollow white ones reminiscent of the Tinman’s empty body cavity but that of the richness of the Scarecrow’s brain, the local deep rich red berries that only an Ontario June can produce.

The Scarecrow was of course made from straw, which it’s name’s sake had come from. Perhaps it was the way the berries are “strewn” throughout a berry patch or the use of actual straw, whether to line  the fields to help elevate early crops from late frost on the ground or to pack in flatbed trucks to absorb damaging moisture and protect from blazing heat, nevertheless the strawberry is here.

The species that we currently know and love, although actually originally cultivated in France, was crossbred from we what still know of locally as a “wild strawberry” but with a southern Chilean variety to produce a larger, firmer berry.

Strawberries are used in many sweet dishes, which you will see this month if you come into our café, but are also a perfect dessert “au naturel” as nature intended.

This week’s recipe actually shows a great savoury adaptation.

“Salsa” does not have to be made with tomatoes (which are actually also fruits) but can be made with many different variations including of course the strawberry.

The moisture soaking into the drier grilled chicken works wonders as does the sweetness counteracting the spice as complimenting the bitterness of the greens below!

I’ve had skeptics who wouldn’t believe that onions and strawberries could ever be in the same recipe but, like Sam I Am, try it and you’ll be amazed!

Grilled Chicken Breast with Spicy Strawberry Salsa

For the Chicken:

  • 2 lb boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 Serrano or jalapeno pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbps. raspberry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, fennel seed, chili powder

For the Salsa:

  • 1 lb Ontario strawberries, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 Serrano or jalapeno pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. Raspberry vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. crushed ginger
  • 1 bunch mint, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, fine diced
  • Salt & pepper

Marinade chicken for at least an hour.

Combine salsa ingredients and allow to soak.

Drain chicken and sear on medium-hot grill, about 3 minutes per side or until cooked through (internal temp of 74 C) – rest.

Allow chicken to rest for a minute or so, then slice and lay over top a bed of greens and cover with salsa.

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