Sunday, July 08, 2007

Strawberry Salad with Crema di Balsamico


Well, I guess I don't need to tell you about how obsessed I am with food. My heart smiles with excitement when I hear about an interesting recipe or when I can manage to get my hands on an exquisite product. A few weeks ago, I taught a friend how to marinate strawberries in balsamic and all the while I was thinking of how much lovelier this would be with a Crema. Perhaps I should first mention that I have a deep love for balsamic vinegar. Its mellow tartness and sweet notes make all other vinegars pale in comparison. I always go for the best, and for me that's usually the thicker, more syrupy varieties.

I walked into Oil & Vinegar today and was pleasantly surprised (understatement) when my eyes fell upon on a gorgeous little bottle of Crema di Aceto Balsamico di Modena. Visions of perfectly coated strawberries and pristine white plates, polka-dotted with balsamic, filled my head and made me want to run home and create! Coincidentally, I had recently seen Jamie Oliver make quite an interesting salad that called for the perfect union of strawberries and balsamic. Since I was in the mood for a quick and easy Saturday dinner, I decided to recreate this salad in my own way.

I marinated the strawberries in Crema and olive oil and sprinkled them with salt and a fearless grinding of mixed peppercorns. Thick slices of grilled halloumi added saltiness to the dish, making each mouthful, with its variety of flavors, almost sparkle in my mouth. The salad, along with some crusty bread, some left over couscous and a small bowl of fat, green, almond stuffed olives made for a perfect dinner
.
Here's the recipe:

*450g strawberries (small ones left whole, bigger ones halved.)
*1 tbsp
Crema di Aceto Balsamico
*2
tbsps good quality olive oil
*salt and a generous grinding of mixed peppercorns
*200g mixed green leaves (a mix with rocket and watercress would go particularly
well with this)
*4 thick slices
halloumi
* 1 tbsp chopped fresh
basil, and four big leaves left whole

Clean and prepare your strawberries. Put them in a large bowl and add the basil, balsamic, oil and salt and pepper to taste. Stir gently to coat and let them marinate for about an hour at room temperature. Ten minutes before serving, heat up a griddle pan and grill the halloumi slices on which you've placed a big leaf of basil, basil side down, for about 3-4 minutes per side. Gently toss mixed leaves together with marinated strawberries. Serve salad with grilled halloumi and sprinkle with a little more oil and vinegar. Dot plates with a little balsamic for extra prettiness! Serves 4.

5 comments:

Glossy said...

That looks and sounds delicious!! I've yet to try strawberries with balsamic - I must give it a go.

Kelly-Jane said...

I think I would love this, and I have some more halloumi in the fridge!

Norm said...

I have never heard of 'Crema' balsamic. What is it exactly? Your meal looks gorgeous Paola - as ever! You take excellent food photos!

Paola said...

Thanks girlies!

Norm, cream di balsamico is a syrupy glaze made from the recuction of balsamic vinegar and grape must. It has a sweet tanginess which I think goes great with both sweet and savory foods (salads/ice creams or even over a chocolate cake!). If you're into decorating plates (like I can sometimes be!), it's just the thing you want to have. :)

paola

Piedro Molinero said...

Strawberry with balsamic is already yummy, together with fried halloumi it must be excellent. I never tried this but I will do. Thank you for this wonderful recipe.