Thursday, July 15, 2010

Balsamic Vinegar: It's Not Just For Salads Any More.

Jason Severs can make some Italian food.

He and his wife, Rebecca, are the owners of Bari Ristorante e Enoteca, an amazing place in Midtown Memphis which serves up traditional southern Italian fair prepared by a bona fied I-Tal-EE-Un. There is a wine list that goes on for miles and a cheese menu that brings tears to this Midwesterner's eyes. The food is uncomplicated, fresh, and delicious, and the mood feels like you have been asked into their home.

I'm not a big dessert fan, but Jason's are absolutely perfect: not too sweet, always tasty, and some incorporating fresh seasonal fruit. My personal favorites are his Blueberry Balsamic Tart (ask your server what they call it in the kitchen) and his Balsamic Gelato.

If you can't wait to get to Bari for some of these summertime treats, you can try the improvised versions below. But you should get yo' booty there for the real deal.

Balsamic Berry Frozen Yogurt

The first bite of this bad boy is a total surprise: tart and tangy! I had to do the fro yo because every time I try to make gelato I end up with really runny scrambled eggs.

1 cup blueberries
1 cup blackberries
1 cup raspberries
1/4 cup to 1 cup of sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups full fat plain yogurt (full fat yogurt is preferred, if you use low-fat or non-fat yogurt, substitute 1/4 cup of it with heavy whipping cream)
1/2 cup whole milk

Place the berries, sugar, and vinegar in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium heat, stirring, until all of the sugar has dissolved. While the mixture is heating, use a potato masher to mash up the berries. When all of the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

Stir in the yogurt and milk until completely incorporated. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for several hours (or overnight) until completely cold.

Process the yogurt mixture in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions (usually about 25 minutes). Serve immediately (it will be soft) or let it firm up a bit by freezing it for several hours.

Balsamic Strawberries over Vanilla Whipped Cream

Light and tangy, perfect for a summer dessert. It ain't no tart, but it'll do in a pinch.

1 pint of strawberries, sliced
1 tbl sugar
3 tbl balsamic vinegar

1 cup heavy cream, cold
2 tbl sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Combine strawberries, sugar and vinegar in a bowl. Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes so berries can do their thang!

Place cream in bowl. Whip it. Add sugar and vanilla. Whip it some more. Duh.

Serve strawberries over cream.


  1. One of my faves: cube some watermelon and toss it with crumbled feta, chiffonaded (um, did I just make up a tense of that word?) basil, and balsamic that you've reduced into a glaze. Easy. Tasty. Done and done.

  2. Kristin, I thinkeded that this soundses super tastified even if it is grammatorically incorrected.
    Thanks for the suggestion!