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Instagram is a purveyor of many things: The skinny tea model, the destination you’d never heard of but must immediately travel to, the rainbow salad and/or smoothie bowl with a hundred different superfood powders and star shaped fruit cuts. On a more subtle level, but equally as able to induce jealousy, I’d say, is the seasonal food envy. While I’m sweating away in an Australian summer, eating an icypole or an iceberg lettuce salad under a fan, I lust for the cosy, wintery scenes of elsewhere that pop up on my newsfeed. Such is the inverse of the dilemma I’m currently facing: the fresh, bright, summery salads of the Northern hemisphere, ‘liked’ while attempting to keep one hand warm by sitting on it.
I decided to add a slightly seasonal twist to a caprese salad by roasting strawberries in balsamic and brown sugar. I say slightly because strawberries do not belong to winter (although there is currently a glut of cheap ones in Melbourne, global warming dat you?) but roasting definitely does.
Despite the logical assumption that balsamic roasted strawberries belong to salads and not sweets, I’m here to bust some myths. They go amazingly with things like pavlova (for which I have a great recipe in my cookbook) or even with brown butter ice cream. The balsamic adds a sophisticated richness to the strawberries, while the brown sugar adds the sweetness we know and love.
Balsamic and brown sugar roasted strawberry caprese
FOR THE STRAWBERRIES:
- 1 punnet strawberries
- 1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- Pinch of sea salt
FOR THE SALAD:
- 1 bunch of basil
- 2 large Roma or large Heirloom tomatoes
- 1 punnet cherry or lil Heirloom tomatoes different colours are fun but not necessary
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- 1-2 250 g tub of Burrata the better quality the better!
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- In a bowl, mix together your balsamic, brown sugar, and sliced strawberries, and mix well. Set aside to marinate while the oven heats up.
- Pop the strawberries in the oven on baking paper for 15-20 minutes, or until they're super juicy. You can give them a spray of olive oil if you wish.
- While they're cooking, chop the tomatoes and basil, and pop them in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and a generous pinch of sea salt.
- Take the strawberries out of the oven and allow them to cool just a little bit. Tear up the burrata and add it to the tomatoes. Assemble them on a plate, and top with the strawberries, (they're too delicate to be mixed into the tomatoes) extra basil if you have some, and a final drizzle of balsamic vinegar, if you're into it.