Strawberries & Balsamic Vinegar
Those of you who have already tried this most blissful, fortuitous of combinations may think that dedicating a whole post to balsamic vinegar drizzled over fresh strawberries is silly, too obvious. But for those of you who have yet to taste this, a revelation awaits you! This is the single best way to eat strawberries as well as the single best way to consume balsamic vinegar. Most of the time balsamic on a green salad is too sweet for me, gimme Spanish sherry wine vinegar for that. Balsamic is made for strawberries! Anyway, you have 2 options for serving this simplest of dishes: as a snack,
1 cup quartered (big) or halved (small) strawberries
1 tablespoon (more or less to taste) balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon (more or less to taste) sugar
Coat the strawberries with the balsamic and sugar in a bowl and let macerate for at least 30 minutes. The result is a delicious bowl of strawberries with the best sweet/tart sauce. It is a little ugly, though, the sauce being dark brown and all, making the red of the strawberries a little dingy. For a more elegantly pretty late spring dessert, follow this version:
-1 cup whole strawberries per person
-1 teaspoon balsamic per person
-1 teaspoon sugar per person
So, for a dinner party dessert for 6 people, place 6 tsps sugar and 6 tbsps balsamic in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and reduce to a thick syrup. (I used a candy thermometer and boiled the mixture to 230F.) Music to reduce vinegar by: "Float on" by Modest Mouse. Let cool. Drizzle the thick syrup over the whole strawberries and serve immediately. This provides a very lovely presentation since the now almost black syrup holds its shape rather than becoming a uniform brown coating on the berries. You can also drizzle the syrup on the empty dessert plates and the place the strawberries on top.
**Note: Cooking while listening to music and singing at the top of my lungs makes me really happy, so here on in, I'll be giving you suggestions for "music to cook by". Hope it inspires you as much as it does me.