I got the original recipe from a Greenmarket flyer a couple of years ago. It's one of my favorite ways to prepare strawberries. It's a great cool dessert for hot summer days. It can also be prepared hours ahead of time, even the day before, then assembled just before serving.
Maceration is one of those cool, unusual words that sounds a little gross, but precisely describes what's going on. It refers to the period of letting the strawberries soak with the vinegar-sugar mixture, which blends the flavors.
IngredientsAll these ingredients, except perhaps the vinegar, are available from Greenmarkets in New York City.
All measurements approximate. Any sugar can be used. Sweeten to taste, based on the ripeness of the strawberries.
- 1 quart strawberries
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- Spearmint leaves
- Rinse the strawberries, drain and remove the tops. You can leave the strawberries whole, or cut them in half. Larger strawberries should be cut in half to ease mixing.
- Over low-medium heat, reduce the vinegar by about 1/2. You want to partly caramelize the sugars in the vinegar, but not burn it. When it starts to smell a little sweet, and thickens enough to begin to coat the sides of the pan, it's ready.
- Dissolve your sugar - I used maple syrup - into the vinegar. Remove the vinegar-sugar mixture from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Finely mince most of the spearmint leaves. Set a few aside as a garnish.
- Put the strawberries in a bowl with enough room that you can stir and mix them around.
- Pour the vinegar-sugar mixture over the strawberries. Add the minced spearmint leaves.
- Stir the mixture to coat all the strawberries. Don't worry if there's not enough liquid. The strawberries will add their own juices, increasing the volume of liquid, and make it easier.
- Cover the bowl and put it in the refrigerator to chill and soak for at least two hours.
- An hour in, stir the strawberries and juices again, coating all the strawberries with the juices, and return to the refrigerator to soak another hour.