It is definitely strawberry season here in San Diego, and it’s hard to resist basket after basket of these little beauties. I like to buy mine at the local farmers markets, always searching for the local Carlsbad strawberries. In any case, I always want organic berries, since most berries absorb pesticides faster than many other fruits. In a pinch, the organic ones from Trader Joe’s taste almost as good and usually come from up north near Watsonville or Castroville, famous for rich soil and beautiful produce.
Pairing strawberries with balsamic vinegar has been on my list of desserts-to-try. Since I had recently splurged on a small bottle of good quality balsamic vinegar, I decided to make this for dessert earlier this week when a friend shared supper with us. You can play with how much vinegar and sugar you want, depending on the sweetness of your berries. We enjoyed these “straight”, but they would pair nicely with ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.
Such a pretty dessert, it’s fun to play with your presentation. I dusted off some parfait glasses that were a wedding present to my grandparents, vintage 1922. They have an iridescent tint to them that I’ve loved since I was a little girl….Chilled martini glasses might be equally pretty.
TIP: Macerate the berries just before dinner, allowing them to sit at room temperature. This will add to the juices and fresh, bright flavors of this simple spring dessert.
- 1 pint organic strawberries, washed, hulled and halved - quartered, if large
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon best quality aged balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon best quality vanilla
- Fresh mint sprigs (optional garnish)
- Combine the strawberries, vinegar, sugar and vanilla in a non-reactive bowl.
- Allow berries to macerate - or "rest" - for 1 hour.
- Serve in individual glasses and garnish with mint sprigs.