Monday, July 30, 2012

Balsamic Roasted Strawberries

Bowls of Roasted Strawberries and Sauce
Roasted Berries and their Liquid

Recipe adapted from White on Rice Couple and Joy the Baker

I love finding recipes for things I’ve never thought of before, don’t you? Especially when the recipe is simple enough to tweak to my own tastes without fear of failure. Balsamic roasted strawberries are like that. The only way you can ruin them is to burn them. And I did burn some of the juices on the first batch, but they still tasted good, sans the black parts.

Lesson learned: with shorter baking time you can separate strawberries and liquid, baked longer strawberries and liquid caramelize together. You can choose to make them so there’s liquid to brush on top of a strawberry muffin with roasted strawberries inside. Or you might use the liquid and berries to top a cake. Or you might want to make slightly caramelized berries as a yummy quick jam. It’s your choice.

Bowl of Strawberries Dressed with Sauce
Saucy Strawberries
This idea came from two of my favorite food blogs. White on Rice Couple separates their berries from the liquid, and uses both in strawberry muffins. Joy the Baker uses a recipe from the Super Natural Every Day cookbook and scoops up both strawberries and juice to top a buttermilk cake. Joy also recommends trying this recipe with apricots, plums, or smashed blackberries. Try it out with any soft fruit that’s growing in your yard right now!

The essence of this recipe is to lightly bake strawberries in a sauce consisting of liquid sweetener, oil, salt, and balsamic vinegar. It seems that amount of balsamic and oil are more or less constant (though I might reduce the oil slightly next time), but the amount of sweetener and salt vary quite a bit. I chose a “middling” amount of both; let your taste buds be your guide. For sweetener, you can use maple syrup, honey, or agave. For oil, Joy uses olive and White on Rice uses canola (do buy organic, as non-organic is typically genetically modified). I used walnut, which I’ve been experimenting with for baking. Almond, hazelnut, or any other light nut oil can be substituted.

Roasted Strawberries on Parchment
Perfectly Baked for Cakes and Muffins
There is another choice in how much of the sauce to put onto the baking sheet. This could depend upon whether you choose to separate the liquid from the berries, or whether you want more or less liquid. Or, it could be a flavor choice: how much extra flavor do you want to add to the berries? Or perhaps, like me, you think discarding any food that can be used seems wasteful. Be aware that the liquids will cook first, and this is the area to prevent from burning when you check the berries.

Strawberries Juices Scraped onto Spatula
Scoop up Berries & Liquid with Spatula
Finally, this recipe is for berries and liquid that can be separated, or used as a sauce or in baking. If you want a more caramelized jam-like fruit spread, bake at a lower temperature (325 or even 300 degrees) for a longer time period. Whichever you make, check the berries frequently once you smell their delicious aroma. Don’t burn ‘em like I did.  Have fun with these!

Balsamic Roasted Strawberries
makes about 1 cup

1 1b. strawberries, approx. the same size if possible
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. maple syrup
¼ tsp. sea salt
1.5 - 2 tbsp. walnut oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cover a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

Hull strawberries and cut in half. If some berries are much larger than others, cut the large ones into quarters.

In a small bowl, mix together balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and sea salt until salt dissolves. Add walnut oil. Whisk together till well blended.

Drizzle sauce over strawberries and mix until well-coated (I used my hands). Spread strawberries out on baking sheet so they don’t touch. Add as much of the sauce to the baking sheet as you like (I add it all).

Bake until juices start to thicken. This will take about 40 minutes. Take care not to burn them; after about 20 minutes, check about every 5 – 7 minutes until done.

Remove from oven. Use large spatula to remove berries from parchment. If they’re caramelized, do this when they are still warm. If you’re separating berries from liquid, it’s easier if you let them cool first.

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