The mellowed acidity of aged balsamic vinegar pairs perfectly with the sugary sweetness of strawberries. For a special presentation, garnish with wild strawberries.
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 1 quart (4 cups) ripe strawberries, washed and hulled
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons vodka (optional)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon basil leaves, cut into thin strips
To make the sugar syrup, combine 3/4 cup water and 4 tablespoons sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Place half the strawberries in a blender with the sugar syrup, lemon juice, and vodka, if using. Puree. Transfer to a fine mesh sieve and press on puree, pushing the pulp through. Discard seeds remaining in sieve.
Pour mixture into a shallow 8-inch square pan. Freeze 2 to 3 hours, or until almost completely frozen. Scrape granita with a fork to make it flaky. Freeze for another hour and scrape again. When ready to serve, scrape again.
About 30 minutes before serving, quarter remaining strawberries lengthwise and transfer to a bowl. Add remaining tablespoon sugar, pepper, and vinegar; mash slightly with a fork, keeping mixture chunky. Add basil.
To serve, scrape some granita into four glasses and top with smashed strawberries.