There are strawberries in the markets and supermarkets. It is still not warm enough here for the strawberries to be local. So they come from warmer climates. But because they’re still in the affordable range, they are not your best strawberries. They are the ginaromous, flavourless steroid strawberry. You know, those as big as the palm of your hand. I hate those. The fact that you can buy a little gadget to help you hollow out the strawberries from the annoying white stem inside tells you that it is NOT a strawberry.
So, since I won’t be buying to eat those strawberries, I will wait until the real ones show up. Well, now that the real ones are showing up, the steroid strawberries’ price is plummeting. Therefore, I can buy the massive ones and use them for cooking and use the precious beautiful red kisses for enjoying on their own.
I had the feeling I had made way to many muffins and cakes than I should, so despite the fact that there are muffins and bread puddings and whatnots you can make with strawberries, I need to hold my horses a bit. But I wanted strawberries! I want I want I want! Well, this is a compromise. I found this on The Design Sponge’s Entertaining Section. The original recipe is paired with ricotta, but that is up to you. It is basically a strawberry rhubarb compote that you can pour over anything and enjoy in any way. I plan on putting it over fromage blanc, probably even together with my morning cereal, or on crêpes, instead of strawberry jam. What could be better?
The question of the aged balsamic vinegar. Fear not, my friends, there is always a way out. I was planning on reducing some balsamic vinegar, when a quick research yielded just that. There is a way to quickly “age” any old supermarket variety of balsamic vinegar! I found a video on America’s Test Kitchen and that is what I did. Done in a snap! No need for expensive fancy imported tiny bottles! Woohoo! I used Maille’s Balsamic Vinegar, which I believe has a higher sugar content than the ones I have had in N. America. This one is so sweet on its own, you CAN drink it. I am saying this because I believe partly due to that and because I couldn’t get the liquid to be just simmering (it was either nearly switched off (too low) or nearly boiling (too high)) my balsamic vinegar reduced a little too much. It is therefore now nearly hardened to hard caramel even at room temperature, but nothing that a quick bain marie wouldn’t fix. So if that happens to you, do not worry.
On the other hand, I don’t know whether the aged balsamic makes a difference here or not. You only use 1/2 tsp for the entire mixture, so why not just add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and avoid making this entire aged balsamic reduction?! I should’ve done that, but in my crazy mode I felt extravagant…
This is the closest I have come to making strawberry rhubarb jam and to tell you the truth, I don’t need the jam. I have this. It is excellent. I can even put it between two sheets of pastry and call it a pie! It is that good. How can it not be?! Strawberry and rhubarb are BBFs and they should never be kept apart!
Ingredients for aged balsamic:
1/3 cup (80 ml) balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp port (I didn’t have any & it still turned out amazing)
1. Pour ingredients in a shallow pan, bring to a boil and reduce to just a simmer. Reduce it on very low heat until it reduces to a half.
Ingredients for compote:
250 gr strawberries, cleaned, chopped not too finely
230 gr rhubarb, chopped 1 cm or less
1/2 tsp aged balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp honey
1 vanilla packet (optional, this was my addition)
NB: this is sweet enough on its own, but when mixing it with unsweetened dairy products have a little bit of honey or maple syrup around to sweeten it a bit more. Or maybe you like it without 🙂 To everyone according to their taste buds!
1. If you have just made the aged balsamic, I’d advise you to not wash the pan and use the same one. In the pan pour in everything but the strawberries.
2. On medium heat, stir to evenly to coat. When the sugar and honey melt away, stir occasionally so that the rhubarb has time to “stew” in the sugar and soften up, 7-10 minutes.
3. When the rhubarb is nearing softness, add the strawberries and stir around for 1 minute.
4. Remove and cool to room temperature.
And that is it! You can enjoy it as it is, warm, cold, on yoghurt, ricotta, cottage cheese (yumm!), ice cream (double yumm!), over crêpes, brioche… I don’t need to tell you, come on!