Friday, June 29, 2012

Vanilla-Roasted Strawberries

June strawberries are a like a little gift from Mother Nature, and this recipe is one way to let them steal the spotlight. If you have perfect summer strawberries and high quality balsamic vinegar, then skip the recipe and just drizzle a few drops of the balsamic over the berries, for an even simpler dessert.

  • 3 tablespoons vegan butter, divided
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 24 strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons vegan brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegan dry red wine
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1. Place 2 tablespoons butter in a 9-inch baking dish, and place in the oven at 400 degrees just until melted.  (Note: it will only take a couple of minutes.  Turn on the oven light so you can peak through the door and see when the butter melts).

2. Remove from the oven.  Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, and scrape the seeds into the melted butter. 

3. Cut the tops from the strawberries and place, cut sides down, in the pan.  Sprinkle with the brown sugar.  Tuck the vanilla bean halves among the berries.

4. Return to the oven and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.  Let cool for 20 minutes.

5. Remove the berries from the pan and transfer to a platter.  Transfer the remaining pan juices to a small skillet, and add the red wine and balsamic vinegar.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat.

6. Remove from heat. Cut the final tablespoon butter into small pieces, and whisk into the wine mixture.  Drizzle the sauce over the berries, at which point this decadent little concoction is best served immediately.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (6 strawberries, 2 tablespoons sauce), Calories 135

Tasting Notes:
I had no idea strawberries could be this tender, and yet still retain their shape - they are almost melt-in-your mouth.  The sauce was decadent - buttery and silky, with hints of vanilla.  Think of the way warm strawberry jam and melted butter taste over toast - but don't bother with the toast! - and you'll have a rough approximation of this dessert.  I would use a touch more brown sugar or a touch less balsamic (either way) to make the dessert a little sweeter, but other than that, fantastic.  You might consider a splash of vanilla extract to increase the vanilla flavor.  I confess to scraping up the last bits of sauce with a finger.


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