It’s the first day of summer and the first day of the first official “heat wave” of summer for those of us on the northern east coast. While my appetite generally decreases when it’s really hot, my sweet tooth never lets up. Because I have only ever posted about savory dishes, I thought I would take a moment on this day of firsts to speak about something sweeter – Dessert! Macerated Strawberries are a lovely treat to come home to when the weather is sweltering (ok, a man with the sculpted proportions of a greek god wearing just an apron might be nice too, but that’s the subject for a different blog).
I was introduced to this dessert so long ago, that I can’t remember the origin or the exact proportions, but that’s ok because it’s so simple you can hardly go wrong (indeed, a brief web search reveals countless variations). It tastes best when ripe berries and a high quality balsamic vinegar are used. If you like a sweet and tangy combinations, then this dessert is for you.
Fresh ripe strawberries, washed, hulled and halved
Place the strawberries in a bowl, sprinkle a little sugar on the berries (really no more than a very light dusting), and then pour over a few splashes of balsamic vinegar. Use the vinegar like you’re dressing a salad – you want to wet each of the berries but not drown them in vinegar. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and let the berries sit for 30 minutes up to a few hours in the refrigerator. The berries will soften and give up some of their liquid as they sit in the vinegar in a process called maceration. When you are ready to eat them, take them out of the fridge, transfer the berries into a serving bowl using a slotted spoon. Enjoy alone or with yogurt.
Note: (1) The liquid, which by the end is really more of a syrup, is edible, but I generally find it too sweet. You may disagree so try it before throwing it out. (2) if you can get your hands on a chocolate flavored balsamic, use it, it’s delicious.