Fragole all’Aceto Balsamico

Macerated Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar

On a visit to the West Coast, I had agreed to prepare a menu for the food editor of a major California daily. The dessert was strawberries with balsamic vinegar. Unhappily, I had ignored my own principles and had committed myself to strawberries before seeing them, with the result that I had to make do with the only strawberries I could find, pale and unripe. When the editor saw them she said, “Forget about them. I am not fond of strawberries even when they are perfect. We can do without a dessert.” “If they are not good we won’t eat them,” I replied, “but you are going to taste them.” When the strawberries were done, the balsamic vinegar had erased every trace of greenness, and they tasted as though they had been penetrated by the most ardent of summer suns. We not only tasted them, we finished them. Although it is a good recipe to remember whenever you are stuck with less than ripe berries, balsamic vinegar on strawberries at their peak of ripeness is an experience not to be missed.

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Ingredients

  • 2 pounds strawberries
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons granulated sugar, depending on the ripeness of the berries
  • 2 tablespoons aceto balsamico (balsamic vinegar)

Method

  1. Wash the strawberries, leaving the stem on so that water does not filter in.
  2. Remove all the stems and cut those berries that might be thicker than 1 inch at their broadest point into two pieces. Put all the berries in a serving bowl.
  3. An hour before serving, add the sugar and toss gently but thoroughly. The sugar will dissolve and form a thin syrup.
  4. Just before serving, add the balsamic vinegar and toss delicately several times.

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