Hooray for Summer!

It’s supposed to be 90 degrees in New York today. Since its Memorial Day weekend, the subway air conditioning hasn’t broken yet, and the trash hasn’t begun fermenting in the streets, everyone’s in that happy summer’s-finally-here mood. This general geniality has me happily anticipating all the fruits and veggies that come with the season, so I though I’d share one of my fave summery desserts: strawberries with balsamic vinegar. It’s super easy and the level of fabulousness it reaches really just depends on the quality of the ingredients you use.

Good balsamic vinegar is one of those things that is absolutely worth splurging on. Most supermarket balsamic is just crap; if your balsamic vinegar costs $2.89, then it’s probably just colored and sweetened wine vinegar. The real thing is, as my New Jersey cousins would say, totally awesome. The really old stuff costs a bomb, but doesn't need an ounce of embellishment; it's good enough to sip straight. This recipe calls for good balsamic, but doesn't require anything extra-fancy.

This is definitely a dinner party worthy dessert. Oh, and you cannot, as Nick suggested, get a delicious result from pouring balsamic vinaigrette over the fruit.

Balsamic Strawberries & Mint
Serves 6
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
3 pints strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1 pint vanilla gelato, ice cream, or frozen yogurt
Extra mint sprigs

Combine vinegar, brown sugar, and lemon juice in small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and boil until syrupy and reduced to 1/4 cup, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let it cool. Toss with strawberries and chopped mint. Divide ice-cream among 6 small dessert bowls, and top with the berries. Garnish with extra mint sprigs.

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