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FOOD : When Not in Rome . . . : Those Peppered Strawberries That Have Italy in a Frenzy

June 12, 1988

IN HIS NEW BOOK,"A Celebration of the Seasons: A Cook's Almanac," New Englander Steven Raichlen offers an interesting recipe for using some of summer's bountiful crop of strawberries.

About the recipe for Italian Peppered Strawberries, the author says: "This recipe comes from Lotte Mendelsohn, host of a popular New England talk show and author of 'Italian Provincial Cooking' (Yankee Press). Mendelsohn got the recipe from a listener, who says that Italians are devouring peppered strawberries with an enthusiasm bordering on frenzy."

It's a simple recipe, as are most of those from the book, which ia published by Poseidon Press and sells for $18.95. Divided into 14 chapters--one for each month of the year plus one for miscellaneous recipes and one for basic recipes--the book suggests foods using fresh ingredients easily available during each of the respective months.

Here is the peppered-strawberries recipe.

ITALIAN PEPPERED STRAWBERRIES 1 quart fresh strawberries (about 3 cups sliced) 1/2 cup sugar cup sambuca or other anise-flavored Italian liqueur cup Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur Fresh black peppercorns in a grinder (set on coarse grind) 3 cups vanilla ice cream (optional) Wash, drain and hull strawberries. Cut lengthwise into -inch slices. Place in a large glass bowl.

Ten minutes before serving, mix in the sugar, liqueurs and 10 grinds of black pepper. Spoon ice cream into chilled bowls. Spoon the strawberry mixture over the ice cream. Grind a little more fresh pepper on top and serve at once. Makes 6 servings.

Photographed by Randy Leffingwell; Food styled by Norman Stewart; Prop styling by Stacey Anne for A La Mode/L.A.

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