Monday, March 3, 2014

Simple But Tasty: Strawberries with Balsamic and Walnuts

Who does not love dessert?  I certainly do.  I can't deny it.  The struggle has always been to come up with something that is both delicious and not terrible for you.  I mean sure, the occasional splurge is OK, but what about the rest of the time?  The simplest answer is to eat something that is naturally sweet, good for you, and won't bombard you with a barrage of empty calories.  As it turns out I had gone to the grocery store and bought two pounds of strawberries (gotta love those HEB specials). However, I was not quite sure of what to do with them.  I remembered that when I worked at Central Market I once made macerated berries with balsamic vinegar and mint.  I decided that this would be a perfect use of my strawberries.  So I picked up some good quality balsamic and some walnut pieces and went to town! Here is what you will need:

2 lbs fresh strawberries
1/4 - 1/2 cup sugar (Splenda works well for this for the diabetics or anyone counting calories)
1-3 spigs of mint chiffonade 
2 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar per serving
2 tbsp walnut pieces per serving

This recipe is so easy, but amazing good.  The first thing you are going to want to do is prepare your strawberries.  Just cut off the ends with the green leafy bit and half or quarter them.  This task is best done with a paring knife. Once the strawberries are cut just rinse them off well in a colander.

Next move your strawberries to a container big enough to hold the berries and some liquid.  Add your sugar and mint and gently fold them into your berries so they are completely coated.

 Now put your berries in the refrigerator and wait at least 20 minutes if not a full half an hour.  This will give the sugar time to do its job drawing out the juices of the berries as well as giving all the flavors time to mingle and get to know one another.

Once the berries are ready all you have to do is portion them out into individual serving and drizzle them with the balsamic vinegar.  I do want to make one note about the balsamic vinegar.  You really want to have a good quality vinegar because the cheap stuff is often too harsh or sour to compliment the fruit the way its supposed to.  Good balsamic vinegar has a nice balance of sweet and sour. If you are feeling adventurous you can try to make your balsamic vinegar into a syrup.  All you need to do is heat up your balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan on low heat an allow it to reduce slightly until it becomes more viscous.  If you are not that brave just stick to the liquid vinegar.

The last step to making your berry dessert is to sprinkle on the nuts and enjoy! This dessert works really well with all berries, so mix and match your favorites.

1 comment:

  1. Nice! I do something similar; stick on the low side of the sugar (1/4 C or less, even) and macerate overnight in sugar and about 1/2 C white rum, for what you've got there. (More can't hurt. :) ) Spoon into a bowl and serve with a bit of the rum syrup and some whipped cream. (Also - bonus points, steep the mint into hot heavy cream for about 10-15 minutes, strain, and then whip. Mint whipped cream. Awesome.)