California is home of many legendary movie star desserts. Of course, there are those who claim that this recipe goes back to the royal Romanovs in Russia at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Others place it with Auguste Escoffier, when he ruled the kitchen at the Carlton Hotel in London. But one thing is abundantly clear: high-spirited twentieth-century restaurateur Mike Romanoff, of the legendary Romanoff’s restaurant in Los Angeles, grabbed the America franchise for himself when he popularized the dish in the 1940s at the Hollywood celebrity haunt. The part about his descent from Russian royalty may have been press angentry; the part that’s significant is the way he changed the dish. For Escoffier, Strawberries Romanoff was a question of marinated strawberries and whipped cream. For Mike Romanoff, the whipped cream was folded into…ice cream! How wonderfully, flamboyantly American! If there’s an eight-year-old somewhere deep inside you, you can’t fail to love the following version of his creation.
Makes 4 servings
1 pint strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons triple sec (orange-flavored liqueur)
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
1. Wash and stem the strawberries. Cut into quarters, reserving 4 small, whole strawberries for garnish.
2. In a medium bowl mix the strawberries with the sugar, orange juice, triple sec, and orange zest. Let stand, covered, in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
3. When ready to serve, remove the berries from the refrigerator. Whip the cream to soft peaks, then gently fold into the softened ice cream. Gently fold the strawberries into the ice cream mixture.
4. Serve in martini glasses or wine glasses. Garnish with reserved strawberries.
This recipe is from my book It’s All American Food.
Photo: Sharon Mollerus and Barbara Kiebel of Creative Culinary.