Wednesday, April 15, 2009

CSA week 19 - Strawberry kalamata ice cream

If you didn't read all the way to the end of my post on the Coral Gables Food and Wine Festival (and I wouldn't blame you a bit if you didn't), you missed the strawberry/tomato/black olive parfait that was being offered by the Miccosukee resort. I liked the flavor combination a lot so stole it for an ice cream recipe.

The parfait didn't have any pieces of olive in it and, at first, I wanted to infuse the flavor they way they did, but, not really knowing how to do that, I thought it would add an extra layer of uncertainty to an already risky recipe.

Instead I just took a simple strawberry ice cream recipe and mixed in some chopped olives. I can go for elegant next time once I know what I'm doing. I chose kalamata because I wanted a black olive that a) I could reliable get and b) was unmistakably fruity in flavor and had a substantial meaty texture. All I did was give them a good rinse to get the brine off, but I just found a video cooking demo for an olive cobbler that simmers them in port and sugar to get a more cherry-like flavor out of them. Interesting idea, but it kind of seems like cheating.

The ice cream recipe comes from the Perfect Scoop, and like I said, it's really simple. Slice up one pound of strawberries (two pints exactly, I found) and macerate them in 3/4 sugar and a Tablespoon of vodka or kirsch for an hour. Then put the berries and the expressed juices into a food processor with two cups of cream and a good squeeze of lemon. (Lebovitz actually uses one cup cream and one cup sour cream which would be dandy if I was just making strawberry ice cream. But sour cream plus black olives equals topping for bad nachos to me which I hoped to avoid evoking here.) Process until not quite smooth, chill and churn. This actually makes more than would fit into my standard-sized churn so I had to do it in two batches. Once that was done, I mixed in a good-sized handful of chopped olives, gave it a night in the freezer and here you go:

As you can see, the texture isn't as creamy as I usually get. This is more of a Philadelphia style ice cream so that's to be expected. You can also see lots of olives. I think I went a little overboard. With the strawberry flavor damped down by the cold, the olive is a little more prominent that I wanted. That said, the flavors do work very nicely. Actually, I seem to be the least happy with it of everyone whose tried to so far as it's getting rave reviews. I should have taken some notes when I had some this afternoon as I'm having trouble describing the flavors evocatively at this remove. I'm going to have to get technical instead. You've had strawberry ice cream--I don't have to describe that. This is a fairly mild rendition that supplies mainly low notes with a deep berry flavor and the rich creaminess. The olives themselves have fruity middle notes with salty highlights here and there. Does that make sense? Maybe I'll try again later.


kat said...

I get the whole sweet & salty thing & would probably like it but olives in ice cream still just sounds so weird to me

billjac said...

That's why I billed the ice cream as "strawberry with added fruit flavors" to my coworkers so they could try it without preconceptions.

There's actually not a lot of salt since I did get most of the brine off. It really is the two fruit flavors matching, no different from strawberry/banana. Now green olive ice cream would be a whole different thing.