Spring is here! Spring is here! The calendar tells us we have a few more weeks, but it looks like spring at the local farmers’ market. The stalls were filled with fresh asparagus and baskets of strawberries, and I was more than a little excited to try my hand at a strawberry gastrique (my first gastrique!).
This recipe is based loosely on another one from Cooking Light. I meant to follow the recipe more closely, but when I was preparing my ingredients, it became known to me that my husband had thrown out my gorgonzola cheese… because it was “stinky.” I pointed out that this statement was like me telling him I poured all of his beer down the drain because it was “fermented.” Ay caramba.
Substitutions were in order, so I swapped out the gorgonzola for goat cheese and added some artichoke bruschetta that happened to be kicking around in the fridge. Rather than thyme, I went bold and threw in a little bit of chopped, fresh mint (I love the combination of strawberries, balsamic vinegar and mint!). For the chicken: rather than cutting slits and stuffing whole chicken breasts, I rolled the artichoke, goat cheese and mint filling in chicken tenderloins.
Before adding the filling, I flattened the crap out of the tenderloins with a wooden mallet (a recommended way to spend some time while you’re getting over the idea that someone you love just chucked out $9.37 worth of artisanal cheese). And because I was now working with rolled chicken, I decided to forgo cooking it on the stove and baked the chicken in the oven. Not exactly as Cooking Light intended, but that recipe author probably didn’t live with a gorgonzola killer, either.
The only ingredient I changed in the strawberry gastrique recipe (my first gastrique!) was a swap of white balsamic vinegar for the recommended sherry vinegar. I may have lost some sweetness there, but I’m more of a savory girl anyhow. I served some of the lovely farmers’ market spring asparagus on the side with an almond and carrot rice pilaf. By the time it was on the table, the stinky-cheese-incident had, ahem, aired and dissipated.