11 July 2010

Strawberries Marinated in Balsamic Vinegar

So, it's been a while...I've been away and haven't had a chance to get back to blogging.  I'm actually really surprised how much I've missed it.  I've enjoyed posting my recipes and pics, and I really hope you all have enjoyed my posts, too!

The strawberries right now are insane...in season, they are so sweet and fresh and cheap.  Plus they are everywhere.  Whenever I think of strawberries I think summer!  So I've gone searching for a good summertime strawberry recipe and I've found one.  Strawberries marinated with balsamic vinegar with marscarpone cheese is one of my favorites.
Now, strawberries and balsamic vinegar, when I first heard that combination, sounded more than a little off-putting to me.  If it does to you too, hang with me, because it is awesome!  This is one of my stand-by desserts that is great if you want something that is fresh and light-tasting, and truly easy to make.  It would work great for dinner parties, because everything can be made ahead of time (and since you have to marinate the strawberries for a while, you should make it early) and just assemble it table-side.  Or you can make a presentation of it and deliver to your guests and bathe in their praise:).  But most importantly, enjoy it and share with those you love!
A couple of notes on this recipe...Although I have given quantities of the ingredients, they are just to give a general idea of how much to use, I honestly can't remember the last time I measured anything out when I make this, it just seems to work.  Also, it does call for a vanilla pod, but since those tend to be a little spendy, just a splash or 2 of vanilla extract works as well.  Fresh, super-ripe strawberries work the best, I haven't tried frozen ones, but I think that the texture once they are thawed won't be right, so I'm going to have to recommend against it.
Strawberries Marinated in Balsamic Vinegar
From Jamie Oliver's The Return of the Naked Chef
Serves 4

1-ish lbs of strawberries, hulled
~5 tbsp sugar, to taste
10 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 vanilla pod
14 oz mascarpone cheese
4 or 5 leaves of fresh mint or basil, finely sliced

Place strawberries in a bowl and scatter generously with the sugar followed by the balsamic vinegar.  Stir around and allow to marinate for up to 2 hours.
Score the vanilla pod length-wise and remove the seeds by running a knife along the inside, scraping the seeds away.  Mix the seeds with the mascarpone cheese and sweeten to taste with a little sugar.
Place a scoop of marscapone on a dish, cover with strawberries and balsamic juice, and finish with a sprinkle of mint or basil.

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