Strawberries are so in right now. One of the markets here had some from a local farm and they were too perfect for words. The strawberries were plump, ruby red, and possessed a sweetness that only comes from nature. All I could think about was how they would go so well when paired with blue cheese. Now I must admit that I have thought of making something like this for some time. Although, I have been rambling the recipe for the filling around in my head for a while; but when I tasted the strawberries I knew exactly where I was headed. Pairing the strawberries with a creamy blue cheese filling, and placing it on top of salad lightly dressed with lemon is almost as perfect as the strawberries were to start with. I am sure you are curious enough to give it a try…I hope you are as happy as we were when we ate it!
Creamy Blue Cheese filled Strawberries with a Lemon dressed Salad (serves 4)
1 basket of Strawberries (figure about 3 – 5 per plate depending on size)
1 – 1 ½ cups of Mascarpone
½ - ¾ cup of a crumbled Blue Cheese
1 small head of Romaine (chopped small and washed)
½ shallot, thinly sliced rings
½ cup of Hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
Drizzle of Lemon Olive Oil, or Lemon Juice and Olive Oil mixed
Sea Salt and fresh Black Pepper
First; wash your strawberries and lay them on a towel lined tray or sheet pan to dry. In the meantime, start to breakdown your blue cheese. Place the blue cheese in a mixing bowl and used the back of a spoon to break down its clumps. Once the blue cheese is almost like a paste you are done. With a rubber spatula mix the mascarpone into the blue cheese until well combined. (*Do not over mix the cheeses, it can ruin the texture of it!) Fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip with the mixture and chill until ready to use.
Next; trim the tops off your strawberries. With a sharp paring knife or a small melon baller, gently scoop out the inside of the strawberry without breaking the strawberries “shape”. When all are done gently fill the hallowed out strawberries with the blue cheese mascarpone mixture with a swirl. Chill all when done until ready to use.
Then; place your lettuce, shallot, and hazelnuts in a mixing bowl. Toss with the lemon olive oil, or the lemon juice and olive oil mixture (about 2 – 3 tablespoons) and sprinkle with the sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste.
Finally; when plating place your dressed salad on its serving plates. Be sure to have a bit of everything (lettuce, hazelnuts, and shallot rings) on each plate. On top place your blue cheese filled strawberries and serve. You can serve with some fresh bread, or lightly toasted French bread slices.
Note: The difference in the measurements of the blue cheese and mascarpone depend on how strongly flavored the blue cheese is that you are working with and how much you appreciate the flavor of blue cheese. I personally like a Salem blue or a creamy Gorgonzola for something like this. Do not forget the amount needed may depend on the sizing of the strawberries and how far you stuff them.