Photo: Kelly Rossiter
A couple of years ago I made a recipe of cherry tomatoes soaked in vodka for my column at TreeHugger. One of the commenters said he thought it was a waste of good vodka, but the guests I made it for thought it was pretty delicious. I saw this recipe the other day for strawberries soaked in vodka and remembering the success of the tomatoes, I decided to give it a go.
My daughter had a bunch of girlfriends up to the cottage this past weekend, so I thought I would try it out on them. A couple of them thought the end result was a bit odd, because they were expecting a straightforward sweet flavor, but I noticed them returning to the bowl again and again, and it didn't take long for the girls to finish them. The flavor is quite complex, but there isn't any boozy taste to them at all. In fact, we ate them for breakfast, alongside pancakes. If I hadn't said there was vodka in them, I don't think anyone would have known.
I really expected the strawberries to macerate and break down into a kind of compote, but they didn't at all. They were beautiful and glistening, but held their shape and texture. You could add some whipped cream to them, or serve them over ice cream or on pancakes or waffles as we did, or just eat them straight up from a bowl.
I got this recipe from the Guardian's June 21, 2014 edition, but it is originally from the cookbook "A Girl and Her Pig" by April Bloomfield, which is a terrific book. I made a fantastic lamb meatball dish from that book early last year.
Prep time: Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 40 to 70 minutes, including marinating
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Strawberries Marinated in Vodka and Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 quart strawberries, hulled and halved, if large
- 3 tbsp. vodka
- 1 tbsp. lemon zest, finely grated
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tsp. thick balsamic vinegar
- A pinch of sea salt
- Black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 vanilla pod, split lengthwise
- 1-2 tbsp. sugar
- Combine the strawberries, vodka, lemon zest and juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl. Use a knife to scrape the seeds of the vanilla pod into the bowl, and add 1 tbsp sugar. Stir gently, but thoroughly. Adjust the sweetness.
- Cover the bowl with clingfilm and chill. Let the mixture chill (give it an occasional stir) for 30 minutes, or up to an hour. The longer it sits, the more flavor the vodka will extract from the berries.