Here is one of the easiest desserts I have ever made, and with the stream of visitors we have at the moment that is a good thing - it is also perfect for these sultry Summer evenings without even the merest whisper of a breeze to cool us down.
The balsamic vinegar enhances the flavour of the strawberries and brings out their colour beautifully. And after they have macerated for a mere 30 minutes, their juices combine with the vinegar to produce a delicious, syrupy liquid that is so good you could drink it.
As for the baby basil leaves – they impart a fresh minty/anise taste that I love, and if basil is not your herb of choice them substitute it with another – mint would be great or even finely diced rosemary. Some people also swear by freshly ground pepper.
I think that most Summer fruits taste pretty good in their natural state but these strawberries are a sensational alternative for the burstingly ripe punnets you can find at the markets now. We picked ours in a farm upstate – on one of our many Summer holiday adventures.
900 grams/2 pounds fresh strawberries (around 4 cups), rinsed, hulled and sliced quartered
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
a handful fresh baby basil leaves
Gently toss the strawberries with the sugar and vinegar in a large bowl. Let sit at room temperature covered in plastic wrap for 30 minutes (and not much longer) to allow the strawberries to release their juices.
Place into serving bowls and scatter with a few basil leaves for garnish or…(see notes)
Notes: In addition to eating these on their own you can also have them with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or marscapone, on top of waffles or pancakes, to the side of the plain old pound cake or in between layers of a fluffy sponge with layers of whipped cream…
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