A clear hit: food in a glass

Even the simplest preparations become standouts when served this stylish way

August 26, 2006|By Betty Rosbottom | Betty Rosbottom,Tribune Media Services

I first noticed it a few years ago during one of my semi-annual visits to Paris. The French, I observed, had gone crazy over serving foods in glasses. I spotted savory creations such as chilled smoked salmon purees topped with diced cucumbers mounded in shot glasses, or I'd see juice glasses filled with layers of cooked vegetables bound with an icy-cold gelee.

The patissiers certainly wanted to be part of this trend, and would spoon dark-chocolate mousse into a glass and top it with white-chocolate mousse, or serve their version of tiramisu in small glistening glasses. Now, several years later, this fad seems to have taken hold and is more popular than ever.

This serving style has become part of my own repertoire when I entertain at home. Often, I pull out clear glasses and fill them with either a savory or a sweet combination. The simplest preparations, I've noticed, look quite stylish when presented this way.

Take, for instance, the recipe for marinated strawberries with mascarpone cream that follows. Nothing could be more basic. Fresh sliced berries are sweetened with sugar and flavored with fresh lemon and orange juices, and served with citrus-scented mascarpone cream.

The berries, of course, could be mounded in a large bowl accompanied by a dish of the mascarpone, but for very little effort, you can turn this dessert into a distinctive finale. All that is necessary is to ladle the strawberries, along with some of their delicious juices, into short, wide-mouthed glasses, top them with a snowy layer of mascarpone, and add a sprig of mint. Voila! C'est tres chic!

I served this dessert several days ago, and am planning on making it again for a small summer supper this weekend. It takes about 30 minutes to assemble and can be prepared a couple of hours ahead.

Best of all, my guests swoon when I bring these colorful confections to the table, assuming that they take much more time to prepare than the modest half-hour required. I smile and don't reveal my secret ingredients -- those sparkling glasses!

Betty Rosbottom writes for Tribune Media Services.

Marinated Strawberries With Mascarpone Cream

Serves 6

24 ounces strawberries (4 heaping cups)

1/4 cup sugar, plus extra if needed

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

MASCARPONE CREAM:

8 ounces (1 cup) mascarpone

3/4 cup heavy or whipping cream, divided

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons orange zest

1 teaspoon lemon zest

6 eight-ounce, wide-rimmed glasses or 6 large wine glasses or 6 martini glasses

6 mint sprigs, for garnish

Hull the strawberries, then slice them and place them in a large, nonreactive bowl. Add 1/4 cup sugar, orange juice and lemon juice. Toss gently to combine and marinate the berries at room temperature for 30 minutes. Taste, and if you like, add an additional 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar.

For the mascarpone cream, place the mascarpone in a medium mixing bowl and add 1/4 cup of the heavy or whipping cream, sugar, lemon juice and the orange and lemon zests. Stir well to combine.

With an electric mixer on high speed, beat the remaining 1/2 cup cream until soft peaks form. Then fold the cream into the mascarpone mixture.

Divide the berries evenly among the 6 glasses, spooning some of the juices that will have collected in the bowl into each glass. Then divide the mascarpone cream mixture evenly and spread a layer of it over the berries in each glass. (The strawberries can be prepared 2 hours ahead; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)

To serve, top each portion with a mint sprig.

Per serving: 374 calories, 4 grams protein, 29 grams fat, 16 grams saturated fat, 29 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 88 milligrams cholesterol, 33 milligrams sodium

Recipe analysis provided by registered dietitian Jodie Shield.

Eating from a martini glass

Serving food in martini glasses is a popular and easy way to make what you're serving look special. A quick search of the Food Network's Web site (foodnetwork.com) turned up these dishes in martini glasses. Recipes can be found at the Web site:

Salmon Tartare

Melon Salad

Low-Carb Zucchini Muffins (served as the base for strawberry shortcake in a martini glass)

Camembert Trifle With Black Mission Figs

Caramelized Banana Split

[Kate Shatzkin]

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