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Strawberries in Balsamic Vinegar

Fragole in Aceto Balsamico

SERVES 4 TO 6

Fragole, strawberries, are seen in all the outdoor markets in Italy starting in June. They are used in fresh fruit tarts and often dressed up in red wine for a simple but satisfying dessert.

In Modena, strawberries are marinated in balsamic vinegar, made from the must of the Trebbiano grape and aged in special fruitwood barrels. The beauty of this dessert lies in the fact that even if the berries are slightly underripe, their flavor will be magically transformed by the vinegar.

Ingredients

1 quart fresh strawberries

6 tablespoons sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Directions

Hull the berries. Because rinsing strawberries tends to bruise their tender flesh, a better way is to put a clean damp sponge on a plate or cutting board and gently roll each berry over the sponge. Rinse the sponge occasionally as you work. Cut the berries in half and place them in a glass bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and gently toss.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 hours, before serving.

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