I can't believe that summer is almost here in New Zealand. It was just a couple weeks ago that I had our fire cranking and was living in thermal underwear. Now I'm wearing sleeveless tops and slathering myself in sunscreen and complaining about the heat.
One bonus about the warm weather arriving is that it makes me start craving fruit. I guess because it's refreshing? Whatever the reason, it's a welcome thing because it's bound to be better for my health; I usually ignore fruit, the neglected part of my diet.
One of my favourite summer fruits to munch on are strawberries. They are so handy and taste amazing just as they are. I actually tried growing my own this year, but some pesky animal ate them before I got a chance. I had even planned to build a little fortress for them, guess I was too late.
So I'll be munching store-bought ones this summer.
Anyways, even though strawberries are perfect just as they are, sometimes it's nice to jazz things up a bit. Marinating strawberries in balsamic vinegar is an easy way to do so. When marinated with the balsamic and sugar a delicious syrup gets created, and the flavour of the strawberries is enhanced by the sweet and tart combination. It's next level shit. Some might see it as a gimmick or a kitsch fad, but Italians have been doing it for years. Whether you're a fan or not, I think it's something everyone should at least try.
Here's how I like to make mine, but feel free to tweak it, I've added ideas for other options.
Btw they're yum served on their own or with other desserts such as vanilla ice cream, pavlova, Panna Cotta, etc.
CITRUS BALSAMIC MARINATED STRAWBERRIES
1 punnet strawberries (250g)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons mandarin sugar (other options: plain sugar, vanilla sugar, brown sugar, etc)
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
option: 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (try it before you knock it), it adds extra bite
Slice the strawberries in half, throw them in a bowl with the other ingredients but only add half of the lemon zest and omit the pepper option until serving.
Mix well then cover the bowl and set it aside for about an hour. Sir occasionally.
Stir gently before serving then garnish with the rest of the lemon zest and black pepper if desired.