Way back when we had our Brown Bag Challenge, many of you tweeted about your favorite BYO-lunch: the classic Peanut Butter and Jelly. It's true, nothing conjures up the comfort of home quite like a soft, sticky, smooth PBJ. But it got me thinking: We're "grown-ups" now (er ... sorta) -- maybe it's time for a grown-up twist on a classic. So I got to work on rejiggering the flavors of the old standby, just enough to make it interesting, but not so much that it doesn't still spell comfort.
The first of these was the most straightforward riff on strawberry jam: peanut butter with roasted strawberries. I originally tested this during strawberry season, but I recently re-did it with frozen strawberries and the results were equally delightful. Stay tuned for more twists on the lunchtime favorite!
Roasted Strawberry PBJ
Makes two sandwiches
4 slices whole grain or french country bread, whichever you prefer
3-4 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1 batch roasted strawberries, recipe follows
Warm your bread in the oven or microwave, or if you prefer, lightly toast.
Spread about 1-2 tablespoons of peanut butter (depending on your taste for peanut butter) on each slice of bread.
Spoon a healthy dollop (probably about 2-3 tablespoons, again, depending on taste) of strawberries onto each of the 2 remaining slices of plain bread.
Sandwich together. Crusts optional.
Adapted from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day
Makes enough for at least two PBJs, with more to spoon over ice cream for dessert
8 ounces small to medium strawberries, hulled
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt, or generous pinch of Maldon salt
1 tablespoon sherry
A few drops balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (juices will run).
If you are using frozen berries, let thaw for a couple of hours and drain their juices. Cut each strawberry in half. If your strawberries are large, cut them into quarters. Add the berries to a mixing bowl.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, honey, olive oil and salt. Spoon over the strawberries and toss to coat the berries. Arrange the strawberries in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
Roast for about 40 minutes, just long enough for the berry juices to thicken, but not long enough for the juices to burn. Watch the edges of the pan in particular.
While still warm, scrape the berries and juices into a small bowl. Stir in the sherry and balsamic vinegar. Use immediately or let cool and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
— Lily Bellow for Small Kitchen College
Lily Bellow graduated in 2009 from Harvard University with a degree in English Literature. While in college, she bartended and cooked at the campus pub, and as a result has a difficult time eating chicken wings. She is the Managing Editor for Small Kitchen College.
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