When Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy became First Lady, there was the concern that her sophisticated ways would not be accepted by the American public. This was not so at all. Her style was emulated widely, and there was interest in the foods served at the White House. Jackie hired French-born American chef René Verdon. His original assignment was to help temporarily with the high demands of luncheons after the inauguration, but after a few months he was hired permanently. Verdon’s first commission was an informal luncheon, which was hosted by the Kennedys for Princess Grace and Prince Rainier of Monaco. There were dishes with crab, spring lamb, and strawberries! Here is Verdon’s recipe for the Strawberries Romanoff. her served.
Tip: Freeze the bowls and glassware before serving, as this can melt quickly — especially in warm weather.
1 quart small strawberries, hulled (if the strawberries are large, quarter them)
2 T orange-flavored liqueur, e.g. Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or Triple Sec
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 T confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
A garnish of candied violets or fresh mint leaves
Toss the strawberries with the liqueur in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 2 hours before serving.
In a chilled bowl, whip the cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract until stiff. In another bowl, mash the ice cream with a large spoon. Stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the ice cream. Then fold in the rest.
Divide half of the strawberries (with their juice) among 4 chilled glass serving bowls. Top with half of the whipped cream mixture. Repeat. Garnish with the candied violets or mint.