Photo: Anna Knott
Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle (1657–1757), essayist and gourmand, attributed his long life to his love of strawberries. He ate them whenever he could, which probably made June his favorite month of the year.
Amanda Rockman, pastry chef at L2O, ventured no opinion on the medicinal powers of the luscious fruit, but this she knows: Strawberries are particularly wonderful when macerated in balsamic vinegar and served over something creamy. “Perfect for summer with a glass of Champagne,” says Rockman.
Here's Rockman's recipe for this sweet treat:
Amanda Rockman’s Strawberries with Fior de Latte
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Prep time: 30 minutes
Special equipment: Candy thermometer
4 cups ricotta, room temperature
Egg whites from 4 large eggs
1 cup sugar plus sugar for strawberries
¼ cup water
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 pint fresh strawberries
Aged balsamic vinegar
Fresh basil leaves
1. Smooth ricotta in a bowl with spatula.
2. In a second bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks, as for meringue.
3. In a small pot, mix sugar and water, dissolve over low heat, then bring to 235 degrees on a candy thermometer. Slowly stream into the beaten egg whites while whipping.
4. Gently fold the egg white mixture and vanilla into the ricotta.
5. Cover and refrigerate. Tip: You can make this creamy concoction, called fior de latte, up to three days ahead.
6. One to two hours before serving, rinse, pat dry, and quarter the berries. Sprinkle with salt and sugar to taste (depending on the ripeness of the berries). Drizzle with vinegar, toss, and let marinate until ready to serve.
7. Spoon a large dollop of fior de latte into each bowl, top with berries, and garnish with fresh basil leaves.