“floating islands” with strawberries and mint

îles flottantes con fragole e menta





FOR SAUCE: Cut 1 pound strawberries in half (quarter if large). Put in a bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons sugar and mint; set aside.

FOR ISLANDS: Spread a clean kitchen towel (not terrycloth) on the counter near the stove. Line a baking sheet or large plate with parchment paper. In a wide saucepan, heat milk to simmer over low heat.

Meanwhile, put egg whites in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until whites are just foamy, then beat in pinch salt. When eggs turn opaque, increase speed to medium-high and add sugar about 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat until meringue is firm but satiny and still glossy, about 1 1/2 minutes.
Using a large oval spoon, scoop up about 4 tablespoons meringue, then use another large oval spoon to carefully transfer the meringue from spoon to spoon a couple of times to form a smooth oval. 

One by one, form and lower 12 “islands” into the simmering milk, adding only as many as fit into the pan without crowding (if milk develops skin, remove and discard). Poach islands for 1 minute, gently flip and poach 1 minute more, then, using a slotted spoon, transfer islands to towel to drain, then onto prepared baking sheet. Chill for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours.

In a blender, purée remaining 1/2  pound strawberries and 3 tablespoons sugar until smooth. Divide purée among serving plates, put the islands on top, garnish with reserved strawberries and serve immediately.