I don’t like basil very much. I don’t know why, but it’s never been an herb of which I’ve been too fond. A few weeks ago I was sent a potted basil plant in my Boston Organics box, so I decided I better get over myself and put the plant to use. First, I [of course] made tomato sauce, then a few other savory dishes. Then I realized how well the basil went with my favorite balsamic vinegar, which led me to thinking about adding basil to the strawberries with balsamic vinegar I make when strawberries are finally back in season.
It was a genius idea.
No, seriously, it was: the balsamic/strawberry combo is one that’s a perfect harmony of sweet and tangy, while the sweetness of the basil has a peppery bite that pairs so well with it. And please, for the love of all that you call holy, use a good balsamic. While yes, store brand balsamic will work in a pinch, a good aged vinegar is what will work best here. The aged stuff has a deeper, mellower flavor that is just so decadent tasting when paired with fruit. The mass produced commercial stuff is far too acidic and has too much of a bite.
Balsamic Strawberries with Basil
2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 – 3 tablespoons of aged balsamic vinegar
10 large basil leaves, chiffonade
Toss the strawberries and balsamic vinegar together. Let sit in a covered bowl for about 20 – 30 minutes. Uncover, add in the basil and mix well. Cover again and chill for at least an hour prior to serving.
That’s it! Three easy ingredients, minimal prep, and you have a tasty dessert. You could serve this with a barely sweetened homemade whipped cream, or you could take it in a different direction and add some feta cheese to it for a salad. The salty feta would go incredibly well with this. If you happen to have any strawberries left, this will keep in the fridge for a few days.