We were inspired by Chef Camille Le Caër’s Strawberry Basil Peppercorn Jam that he helped us create during a Zoom Masterclass on Saturday evening. The jam was spectacular, but it included a tremendous amount of sugar. Not good for me; it would be a trigger for my sugar addiction. I did try just a taste; the combination of these flavors was rich and deep and amazing. It got me to thinking: Can I combine those amazing flavors into a K2.0-approved dish that still satisfies? Hell yes, I can!
What are the health benefits of this sauce?
Strawberries are packed with vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. Balsamic vinegar has been proven effective to lower cholesterol and stabilize blood pressure. Some research suggests it can also work as an appetite suppressant, and it contains strains of probiotic bacteria. Basil is an excellent source of vitamin K, manganese, iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C. It’s also a good source of calcium, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Black pepper has the ability to enhance the function of the digestive tract. It is known to have a great amount of antioxidant properties, and it guards against bacterial growth, particularly in the intestinal tract. Do you want a spicier sauce? Substitute a few Sichuan berries for a few of the black peppercorns. Learn more about the many kinds of peppercorns, here.
Back to the sauce:
We hulled and quartered about a dozen ripe, locally-grown berries, and combined them with about 10 rough-chopped basil leaves, 10 crushed peppercorns, and 1 cup balsamic vinegar.
We cooked it on a low simmer for 20 minutes, until the liquid reduced by half. We used the back of a spoon to gently crush the berries into smaller bits.
The final product was used as a marinade and as a cooking sauce for chicken tenderloin. All the flavor, without most of the sugar! SO great!!!
We enjoyed the chicken over peppery arugula, with blanched spring peas and asparagus, and a little goat cheese. Our salad dressing was simple: 1 part olive oil, 2 parts white balsamic vinegar, and 1/2 part sharp Maille Dijon.
Can’t even begin to describe how good this was! There was plenty of extra for more salads the following day!
Mascerated Strawberry-Basil-Peppercorn Balsamic Reduction
- 12 strawberries, hulled and quartered.
- 10 medium basil leaves
- 10 peppercorns, crushed
- 1 C balsamic vinegar
- Pour 1C good-quality balsamic vinegar into a non-reactive, small saucepan.
- Wash strawberries, hull and quarter them, and place them in the pan.
- Stack basil leaves and roll lengthwise. Slice thin ribbons, and place in the pan.
- Crush the peppercorns, either with a mortar and pestle, or with the bottom of a heavy skillet. Add to the pan.
- Turn heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes, or until the vinegar has thickened and reduced by about half. Crush the strawberries with the back of a spoon.