Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Strawberry Parade

It's that time of year again, when strawberry-filled plastic containers start stacking up at the supermarkets. Typically, I try to hold off on purchasing any, as strawberry season theoretically doesn't start for another couple of weeks. In the end, the thought of those sweet, juicy berries does me in, and against my better judgment, home they come.


I have two go-to strawberry recipes, one of which is Balsamic Strawberries with Mascarpone Whipped Cream: even early-season strawberries can shine in this.

One evening, my generous neighbor brought over two of these, extras from his dinner party. "They need to be eaten tonight," he said with a smile, handing over the precious berry-filled sundae glasses.

This fit the bill perfectly, as my husband and I were having dinner with friends, and hadn't made any plans for dessert. Each couple shared a spoon and a cup. It was soon evident from the soft gasps of "Oh my god! This is sooo good!", and the frenzied scraping of spoons that this was a must-have recipe. We ended up doing a roshambo to decide who got the last bite. While I lost that battle, the recipe was in my hands the very next day.



BALSAMIC STRAWBERRIES WITH WHIPPED MASCARPONE CHEESE

Yes- vinegar and berries: The mellow balsamic, sweet strawberries, and rich mascarpone come together beautifully.

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons plus 4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chilled mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup chilled whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 1-pint baskets (about 24 ounces) strawberries, hulled, halved

Combine vinegar, 2 teaspoons sugar, and lemon juice in heavy small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Boil until syrup is reduced to scant 1/4 cup, about 3 minutes. Transfer to small bowl; cool completely. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Combine mascarpone, cream, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl. Whisk until thick soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours.

Combine berries and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in large bowl; drizzle with balsamic syrup and toss to blend. Let stand 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Divide berries and syrup among 6 goblets. Top with mascarpone mixture.

Makes 6 servings.

Bon Appetit
July 2001

12 Comments:

Blogger MeBeth said...

I love the South Park definition of roshambo

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=roshambo+&r=f

hee hee.

April 20, 2006 5:07 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

S'kat,

I fell in love with strawberries and mascarpone last spring. A great combination. And I've got some unbelievably good pear vinegar I think I'll try -- maybe tonight.

April 20, 2006 8:35 AM  
Blogger Nerissa said...

Mmmmm... That looks great. I sure miss my mom's strawberry patch. Raiding the strawberry garden for the perfect red strawberry was a source of great contention between my sister and I. Supermarket strawberries have never been quite the same for me. I'm trying to grow some alpine strawberries right now. I hear they're supposed to be be sweeter than regular.

April 20, 2006 9:20 AM  
Blogger iamchanelle said...

oh, man! i have to make this for my buddy, that marscapone fiend...
:)

April 20, 2006 9:37 AM  
Blogger TBTAM said...

Hadn't had a chance to visit your blog for awhile, so got caught up today. Wow - There's some great cookin' goin' on here! Thanks for all the recipe ideas.

April 20, 2006 12:31 PM  
Blogger Mona said...

Wow, I would never think to put balsamic with strawberries. Where have I been, right? Looks awesome S'kat. Anything with mascarpone is mmm mmm good to me.

April 20, 2006 2:41 PM  
Anonymous Tania said...

I've read about pairing strawberries and balsamic before, but have never actually tried it, being stuck on the idea of vinegar plus strawberries as something unappealing. But your post really sounds yummy! Perhaps I should push aside my prejudices and give it a try. Love the mascarpone, too!

April 20, 2006 2:56 PM  
Blogger s'kat said...

MeBeth- HA! I hadn't seen that before. I'll have to let my contractor husband know about this.

Kevin- what an interesting pairing. I'll be looking to see how it turns out.

Nerissa- "Mom's strawberry patch." I'm sure there are three more beautiful words in the English language, but right now, I don't know what they are. What a fabulous memory.

iamchanelle, the mascarpone whipped cheese is so superior to 'regular' whipped cream, I don't know that I'll go back.

tbtam- Hello, and welcome back! The cookin' is mostly good, let us know if any of these work out for you!

Mona, trust the force, babe. :)

Tania, it's not something that leaps immediately to mind, but to taste it is a truly palate-expanding experience.

April 20, 2006 7:02 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

S'kat,

The pear vinegar (it's about 5 years old and has aged wonderfully) was perfect. And boy, talk about a dessert that will knock your socks off! That vinegary bite paired with the sweet fruit was a killer! Thanks for the idea.

April 21, 2006 12:02 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

roshambo!

your post reminded me i have a bottle of cream of balsamic in my pantry. i'll have to see if i can find some berries this weekend.

April 21, 2006 12:30 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I just discovered your blog and my mouth is watering over all these recipes! I recently made strawberries with a mascarpone cream but no vinegar...I will surely have to try this! Thanks - I'll be coming back!

April 22, 2006 4:11 AM  
Blogger Bron said...

Oooh divine, I love strawberries and balsamic!
And you just reminded me of a recipe I saw a couple of months back for "Balsamic icecream with Strawberries."
Although, unfortunately it will be Sept/Oct before we see nice strawberries again in my neck of the woods (New Zealand).

BTW, what a delicious blog you have!

April 25, 2006 4:14 PM  

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