Foolproof Favorites from Famous Chefs – Balsamic Strawberries

I went to the farmer’s market in Solvang yesterday.
I was buying some green beans and the friendly farmer handed me two ripe strawberries to taste.  So I did.  I had no need for strawberries and was rushing home to start prepping for a dinner party last night.  The peach dessert was already made and vanilla ice cream in the freezer.  I had blueberries and raspberries in my market bag. The last thing I needed was more fresh ripe fruit.  I told the farmer I would take three baskets.

Did he look at me and just know I wouldn’t be able to resist?
Or did he know that his fruit was so sweet, so beautifully sun-ripened that no one could resist?
To top off my bounty, when I got home I discovered the kind farmer had added an extra basket to my bag!  It was no mistake because the 3-packs were already boxed so he didn’t count wrong.  He purposely added an extra basket to my bag! Are the farmers always so nice in Solvang?

Anyway, my beautiful baskets of strawberries brought me to a favorite recipe from Ina Garten…strawberries with balsamic vinegar.  This is such a delightful and deliciously-fresh summer dessert, I find myself returning to it year after year, and so it is on my list of Foolproof Favorites from Famous Chefs.  The Barefoot Contessa strikes again.


“I don’t believe in ‘greatest’.  I believe in favorites.” -Steve Vai


Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar (Ina Garten)

8 cups fresh strawberries, sliced thick
5 T balsamic vinegar
2 T sugar
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 pints vanilla ice cream for serving
freshly grated lemon zest for serving

Thirty minutes to an hour before serving, combine strawberries, vinegar, sugar and pepper in a bowl.  Set aside at room temperature.
Place a serving of strawberries in a bowl with a scoop of ice cream on top and dust lightly with lemon zest.



  1. YUMMY!!! Can’t wait to make!


    1. You will love this one Hollye! Fresh and healthy 🙂


  2. Kerin Friden · · Reply

    It sounds heavenly and EASY! Thanks for yet another great recipe!! XXOO


  3. Kerin, I am so glad you are back! I’ve missed your comments 🙂 You are right about this recipe….SO easy and delicious. xo


  4. Cynthia, you Ina and Julia always come up with something that is really delicious. Am fixing this for my company tonight .Your Santa Barbara strawberries are really the best and the sweetest!


    1. Wow Nancy. Can’t believe you just used my name in the same sentence as Ina and Julia. Hope you and your company enjoyed it! 🙂


  5. virginia dahlenburg · · Reply

    Dearest Smiling Water I once went to a dinner party in sicily where we were served a strawberry and balsamic risotto with parmesan cheese. I ate it happily, it was very interesting but odd and not something i would ever serve. Or chose to eat again. Years later on the cultural juggernaut that is the Masterchef series here on TV, a contestant actually made and served this to the judges. One judge tried it with some hesitation and then said “I swallowed this only because I like you”, a line he has since come to slightly regret due to it being re-used in the most inappropriate ways. However i know that the dish you propose is absolutely delicious but I just had to share. xxx

    Date: Fri, 8 Aug 2014 02:34:53 +0000 To:


  6. Funny story Virginia! Balsamic strawberry risotto would not float my boat either. This dessert however, when done in the right proportions, is truly heavenly. You have to use LOTS of strawberries so the vinegar is not overpowering. The combination of fruit with sweet vinegar and creamy ice cream and a hint of lemon….I find it heavenly. Try it!


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