Happy strawberries! Aren’t they yummy? Okay, so don’t freak out by the title of this recipe. Balsamic Strawberries over Vanilla Ice Cream…complete with ground pepper and lemon zest. Say what? This is truly one of those bizarre combos that turns out to be totally incredible! If you’ve never paired strawberries and balsamic vinegar, you’re in for a treat, especially if you pair it with these Lemon Sugar Cookies…
The first time I tried this combination of flavors was at one of my very favorite local restaurants, Cafe Madrid. It’s a very charming spot with incredibly charming hosts, and it’s a short 15-minute walk from our house. Dangerously close enough to eat there way too often. Cafe Madrid is all about authentic Spanish tapas…which I’m all about, too, since I have a very hard time making up my mind about what to order. A whole table filled with little bites to share? Dream come true. Sausages with fig sauce, chicken croquettes, shrimp with bacon in a cream sauce, tenderloin with roquefort and tiny fried potatoes….Ok I seem to have gotten way off track! Cafe Madrid does that to me.
Anyway, after an amazing meal of all these wonderful tastes, my husband Drew and I ordered the strawberries over ice cream. Wow! We were hooked from the first bite. We pretty much devoured the whole thing in seconds, and just barely refrained from licking the bowl. It was that good. There’s just something intriguing to your tastebuds about flavors that are slightly discordant.
It was absolutely addicting. I had to replicate it. And I’ll tell you this much…I’m never sharing that dessert again! Nope. I’ve gotten smarter. Now I order my own, thank you very much! And if no one’s looking, I might just lick the bowl.
- 4 cups fresh strawberries
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- Few grinds of coarse black pepper
- Zest from one lemon
- Vanilla bean ice cream
- Wash and hull strawberries. Slice into bite-size pieces and place in mixing bowl.
- Combine vinegar, honey and pepper in small bowl, and stir until combined.
- Spoon 3/4 of vinegar mixture over strawberries and mix until combined. Let sit at room temperature for 1/2 hour or more.
- To serve, place ice cream in bowls. Toss strawberries again to cover with sauce. Spoon over ice cream. Drizzle with remaining vinegar.
- Sprinkle with lemon zest and serve.
*Note that the strawberries need to rest in vinegar mixture for about 1/2 hour before serving.