Perhaps I have been reading a little too much Alice Waters, but really, can you possibly do any better than fresh berries and whipped cream? I have a soft spot, particularly, for this dessert, because I ordered it on one of my very first dates with my fiancÃ©, at one of those Greenwich Village mock-european cafes that shut down and are reopen about 3 or 4 times a year. The restaurant is long gone, we are several years older, but I remember it vividly because it was the last time that I saw a simple bowl of strawberries and cream on an actual restaurant menu.
But as I was leaving work on Friday, I read my copy of "Kitchen Confidential" on the subway, alternatively laughing and gasping with horror as Bourdain's description of the restaurant industry touched various nerves. But he wrote, at one point, about a particular dessert that he missed at one of his restaurants: macerated strawberries with balsamic vinegar, sugar and a little mint.
Yum, I thought.
And, lucky girl that I am, I stopped by the grocery store on my way home, and noticed some beautiful packages of organic strawberries that were most certainly not there yesterday. Fate was lining up for me, obviously, and I was far from resisting.
But I couldn't wrap my head around the idea of a strawberry dish without whipped cream.Â I left the strawberries plain, but you could macerate them if that appeals to you. I'll happily have a glass of wine with dessert, but I've never been much of a fan of desserts made with taste-able alcohol. Fresh mint would have been a great addition, as a garnish or finely chopped and sprinkled into the whipped cream, so add that if you have it on hand! But this was great, and so easy, just on its own.
There is something so elegant about brightly colored berries with a dollop of freshly whipped cream. With summer just around the corner, I can't recommend this enough.
Strawberries with Balsamic Whipped Cream
2 cups fresh strawberries, leaves removed
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar (or more, your preference)
3 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
Combine cream, sugar and vinegar in a large bowl or stand mixer. Beat on medium speed for about five minutes, until soft peaks form. Serve a large dollop alongside 1/2 cup of strawberries per person.