There’s nothing quite like early summer in Tennessee. It’s a brief, but blissful time, when mornings are cool and damp, and evening storms bring pink, pastel skies. Every inch of the earth becomes cloaked in green, and once known paths become unruly beds for tall grasses, wildflowers and engorged bushes.
And somewhere underneath all this overgrowth, deep in the belly of the forest, a bass line of crickets, bees and insects hum in perfect cadence. It’s the pulse of summer, giving rhythm to the squawks and squeals of the birds, and reminding us just how good it is to be alive.
And it’s during this time that fresh, local strawberries are ripe for the picking. Delicate, juicy and brimming with flavor, these sweet summer berries are nothing like what you find in the stores year round. They’re ruby red and almost purple, pocked with the tiniest of seeds, their flesh tasting of candy.
Born from thick, but sightly bushes, strawberries like to hide beneath a canopy of lime green leaves, staying cool and hidden from the sun. Picking them is admittedly more taxing, requiring awkward angles and knees in the dirt. But the juice is worth the squeeze so to speak, because there’s nothing like pulling back a sea of leaves to find a cluster of beautiful, red berries before you.
In Nashville, I like to pick my strawberries at Green Door Gourmet. Set on 350 acres of rolling Tennessee land, they are a beautiful, organic farm that yields impressive, flavorful produce. It’s always a peaceful and pleasant experience and it certainly helps that the farm is run by some wonderful, passionate people!
My friend Richard is the Farm Chef at Green Door Gourmet and he’s been kind enough to share his delicious recipe for Strawberry Clafoutis with us. Richard is the kind of chef that’s always chasing those rare and seasonal ingredients you can only find in the wild. I’m always learning something new from his dishes, and I love how he takes the concept of farm to table and pairs it with the kind of elegance you find in French cooking.
If you’ve never had a Clafoutis, it’s a classic French dessert that consists of a fluffy, custard-like filling that’s studded with fresh fruit like cherries or strawberries. It’s incredibly simple to make, and can be served in one large baking dish or skillet, or several mini ramekins or skillets. Just don’t forget to top it with ice cream and strawberry sauce!
I hope this recipe inspires you to pick your own strawberries this season and to share this delicious Strawberry Clafoutis with friends and family. As always, enjoy!!
- 1 pound Strawberries, halved or quartered
- 1 Tbsp. Cornstarch
- 3 Eggs
- 1 Cup Milk
- 2/3 Cup Flour
- 1/4 Cup Sugar
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- pinch of Salt
- powdered sugar, for garnish
- ice cream, for topping
- strawberry sauce, for garnish
1.) Preheat oven to 365 degrees F. Gently wash and dry the strawberries. Then, cut large strawberries into quarters and medium strawberries in half (eat the small ones!).
2.) Toss the strawberries lightly with sifted cornstarch and divide between 4 ramekins (or 8, 3.5 inch mini-skillets). Then, whisk together the eggs, milk, flour, sugar, vanilla and salt. Pour over the strawberries and bake until partially golden-brown and slightly puffed up, 25-30 minutes (or 16- 20 minutes if using mini skillets). Serve with a garnish of sifted powdered sugar, ice cream and strawberry sauce! Enjoy!