Strawberry Balsamic Sauce

Summer is in full swing, which means summer produce is abundant and delicious. If you’re like me, you tend to buy more produce than you can eat before it spoils. It starts with the best intentions but a few days after a fruit and veggie spree you find yourself wondering, “How did this all get here and how do I use it up without wasting it?”

I found myself in this predicament last week. I picked up organic strawberries on sale and within a week wished I’d taken better care of them. As I was cleaning and prepping them to freeze it occurred to me that they didn’t have to be relegated to smoothies just because I couldn’t keep up with them.

I don’t eat a lot of desserts; I prefer salty over sweet almost always. But strawberries are an exception. In summer, I’ll quarter and spoon them over ice cream. Or I’ll sprinkle them with a little sugar and eat them just like that. Mostly I just eat them plain because when ripe they are so good.

I needed the perfect sauce to save the strawberries and thanks to an experience years ago with one of my favorite Denver chefs I learned the magic of strawberries and balsamic vinegar. When I first saw the cut up berries covered in balsamic vinegar I thought it was a little weird but I was curious. And then I tried a a slice of chocolate torte with balsamic soaked berries and I was hooked.

This sauce takes less than a half an hour to make and tastes great drizzled on ice cream, yogurt, French toast or licked right off the spoon.

1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled
1/4 cup sugar (white or raw)
4 tablespoons water, divided
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Combine strawberries, sugar, 2 tablespoons water, and balsamic vinegar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce to low heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Keep an eye on it and ensure it doesn’t boil over.

Whisk 2 tablespoons water and cornstarch in a small bowl.

Whisk cornstarch mixture into strawberry mixture. Stir completely into strawberry sauce until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Transfer mixture to a blender and puree until smooth.

Notes: I only used half the cornstarch mixture because I like my sauce a little runny. Right before I blending the sauce I added a splash of balsamic vinegar to the sauce because I like a little more tanginess.

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