The first time I ate balsamic pepper strawberries was in an Italian wine bar in Soho, New York. The meals I eat when I’m on holidays are often the most memorable. I wonder, is it because I have time to sit down and savour each bite, and to take in my surroundings? When I was backpacking, in the days before emailing, texting and instagramming, I would write letters home to my family every week. They more often than not contained lengthy descriptions of food!
Balsamic vinegar is an aged reduction of grapes, produced in the regions of Modena and Reggio in Italy. https://www.italymagazine.com/dual-language/history-traditional-balsamic-vinegar Here, the climate is ideal for cultivating grapes with a perfect concentration of sugars and acidity. Cooking sapum, or grape must, dates back to the ancient Romans. Its use was both as a medicinal and culinary. There are, in fact, recipes using grape must in ‘Apicius,’ a cookbook of Roman recipes. This is the oldest known cookbook in existence, and it’s thought to have been compiled in the 1st century AD.
Balsamic pepper strawberries with strawberry ice cream is a very simple dessert to make. The strawberries are best prepared just before you eat them. Otherwise, the vinegar will make them too soft. The key is to use the best quality strawberries and balsamic vinegar you can find. If you don’t have time to make the strawberry ice cream, vanilla ice cream will suffice, as the peppery vinegar tastes so delicious drizzled on top. Enjoy!
Here’s another simple and pretty dessert, a blog post from earlier this summer: https://atamandastable.com.au/nectarine-granita/
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Balsamic Pepper Strawberries with Strawberry Ice Cream
- 2 punnets strawberries, washed and hulled
- 1 L good quality vanilla ice cream
- 1/4 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Strawberry Ice Cream
- Prepare the ice cream several hours before you need it. Take the ice cream out of the freezer and allow it to soften for about 5 minutes.
- Puree one punnet of the straberries in a blender. Stir into the softened ice cream and re-freeze.
Balsamic Pepper Strawberries
- Prepare the second punnet of strawberries no more than 15 minutes in advance.
- Thinly slice the hulled strawberries.
- Sprinkle the strawberries with sugar, then turn your black pepper grinder 4 or 5 times over the top of the strawberries. Pour the vinegar over the top and stir gently.
- Allow the strawberries to soften for a few minutes, then serve with the ice cream. Drizzle the remining vinegar over the top of the ice cream if you like and serve immediately.