No. 180: Balsamic Roasted Strawberries

We had a lovely weekend in Carmel.

The highlights included:

Breakfast and baguettes at the incredible Lafayette French Bakery.

Several beachside strolls in beautiful morning light.

Beach morning

Giggling over the sandy beards that resulted from lots of playtime on the beach.

Sandy beard

A drive through lavender fields in Carmel Valley.

Lavendar

As well as getting a close-up to some beautiful tide pools, sea lions and wild succulents in Pacific Grove.

Succulents

We cannot wait to come back and play some more this summer. Good thing I found this terrific NY Times article to give us some more ideas for next time. The Cheese Shop sounds wonderful.

Balsamic Roasted Strawberries

With all our running around, I got a late start to dinner on Saturday evening. An appetizer was necessary.

Balsamic vinegar and strawberries are one of those classic marriages in the food world. I used this recipe from Garnish with Lemon as inspiration.

Ingredients

1 pound fresh strawberries
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons good quality, aged balsamic vinegar

To make

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Hull strawberries and cut in quarters. Place berries in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish.

Sprinkle berries with sugar and drizzle vinegar on top. Carefully stir together.

Roast for 35-45 minutes or until vinegar is reduced and thickened and syrupy. Stirring once while roasting.

Roasted strawberries

The results

To make these sweet and syrupy berries into an appetizer, I topped black pepper crackers with warm goat cheese and the strawberry spread. So good.

Goat cheese and strawberry

If only we had had a few fresh basil leaves. A sliver of basil on each strawberry cracker would have been the perfect finishing touch.

This recipe couldn't have timed out any better. While it roasted away, I was able to prep my roast chicken for the main course.

But don't let my variation limit you. Use these berries as a topping for vanilla ice cream, swirled in oatmeal, in muffins or on grilled chicken. Heaven.

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