Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My love of strawberries, and my new love, roasted balsamic strawberries

so gorgeous these Oregon strawberries
I blame my love of strawberries on being born in the strawberry capital of the world. My birthplace is also the largest grower of strawberries in the state of California, and California supplies 85% of the nation’s strawberries. While it has the unfortunate name of Oxnard, it’s home to what’s known as the Oxnard Plain and one of the most agriculturally fertile areas of the world. So I guess you could say I was born with the best strawberries coursing through my veins, but that would be a bit dramatic, no?

Speaking of the best strawberries, I am not going to entertain the overdone banter of Oregon strawberries being better than California strawberries. Here’s the deal. If you pick a berry ripe from the plant, and eat it within a few hours of said picking, it’s going to be much better tasting than one that’s shipped long distances.

Okay, now that’s out of the way, let’s just do a round up here on Lelo in Nopo’s blog history of writing about strawberries. We have…

Strawberry freezer jam
Strawberry vinegar
Strawberry smoothie
Strawberry cupcakes
Strawberry cobbler
Strawberry rhubarb cooler

But I’m adding this to the list:
roasted balsamic strawberries

That there, my friends, is my new favorite love. Roasted strawberries with balsamic vinegar. After making our year’s supply of strawberry freezer jam and freezing bags of berries, I was still staring at some fresh strawberries, beyond what we could eat this week. Intrigued with reading of roasting strawberries, I tossed 6 cups of berries with ¼ cup sugar and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. I spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet and into the 425 degree oven they went for 40 minutes. Once they were done and had cooled, I poured them into a container, making sure to get all of the juicy bits along with the berries.

Um, holy moly. The balsamic vinegar serves to deepen and strengthen the flavor of the strawberry, creating a really delicious sauce, perfect for shortcake or vanilla bean ice cream, or shortcake with ice cream if you’re feeling decadent. In the end? I opted to have it for breakfast with my plain greek yogurt. I’m thinking of stirring some into some homemade ice cream later this week.

And my love of strawberries continues.


Heather said...

I agree - the strawberries from my grandparents' garden (and my own this year!) are the best ever. And there's a chocolate maker in KC who makes strawberry balsamic chocolates, which are to die for. I'll have to try roasting the actual berries next year of course, as they're already long gone here.

Best Wishes, Marie said...

those flavors are very nice. and i have to agree with heather, chocolate works also. i once had a strawberry pannacotta with a chocolate balsamic syrup. the complexity satisfied with a small serving size. so good.

Elizabeth said...

Strawberries are a favorite of mine as well. All of these recipes sound so delish! Especially the strawberry rhubarb cooler. Rhubarb is another favorite. Thanks for sharing.

Amy said...

that sounds awesome! If I have any berries left over this weekend, I think I'll be trying that!

Beth S. said...

I will have to try that! My favorite thing to do with strawberries is to mix it with basil and balsamic vinegar. I can't wait to try them roasted!

Jolie said...

I've long loved strawberries and balsamic together, but roasting them takes it to a whole new level. I must try this. Immediately.

tom | tall clover farm said...

I usually make this recipe without roasting the berries, and eat them fresh. Your photo alone shows, I may be missing something special.

Pre-heat the oven, I'm off to pick berries!

PAgent said...

Can I just move in with you for a month or so? Each time you write a food post I become more concerned about the wonderful foodstuffs that I am missing out on, simply because I don't live with you....

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

That sounds incredibly delicious and rich. I'm going to have to try it.

Robert Moser said...

I would never have thought to roast strawberries with a touch of balsamic vinegar. Your words and photo are, however, quite convincing, and I now know what I'm going to be doing when I get back from the farmer's market. :D

LeLo said...

Heather-Here in the Northwest our produce comes so much later than everyone elses! Oh, and those strawberry balsamic chocolates sound delish.

Marie-I think that's one of the reasons why I like it so much: the flavor is so intense you don't need to have much. That panacotta sounds pretty darn good.

Elizabeth-I agree about the rhubarb!

Amy-Roasting is a perfect way to use older berries or ones going soft. Good luck!

Beth S.-I need to try the basil combo. Yum!

Jolie-Report back!

Tom-There are few things better in life than freshly picked strawberries.

PAgent-Bring your Traeger!

Tom-7th Street Cottage-Yes, yes you do. Report back!

Baeocystin-I love finding new ways to enjoy my favorite fruit!