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.