straw-basilStrawberry season is just around the corner and when I’m not using them for breakfast smoothies, snacks, and desserts, I reserve a few extra for this infusion, and the added basil comes together to give it that je ne sais quoi flavor Light, sweet, savory and delicious, it compliments fruit or vegetable salads. Similar to the raspberry infusion, I invariably make a double batch to create a gastrique. (see recipe)

Recipe notes: What you will need: 1qt Mason jar, cheesecloth and strainer. Yields 2-cups vinegar. Active prep time 5-minutes. For gastrique: Yields 2/3-1/2 cup. Active prep time 3-minutes. Cooking time 15-20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1-strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered
  • 10-12 fresh basil leaves
  • 1-garlic clove halved
  • 1-shallot halved
  • 10-peppercorns
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • 2-cups-champagne or white wine vinegar

Preparation:

img_1928img_1931

  1. In Mason jar, place garlic, shallots and peppercorns on the bottom, and layer with basil and strawberries.
  2. Heat vinegar in microwave for 3-minutes.
  3. Pour over ingredients. Allow to cool before securing lid.
  4. Let stand for 1-week.
  5. Strain and store in desired bottle.

img_1872

Gastrique:

img_1844img_1862img_1867

  1. Pour vinegar into 2-qt sauce pan, add 1/4 Stevia and stir.
  2. On high heat, bring vinegar to a roaring boil and allow to boil for 5-minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and swirl pan till bubbles recede and steam completely dissipates. Do not stir.
  4. Return pan to heat continuing to swirl reduction in intervals between boiling points.
  5. Reduce vinegar by 3/4 or till you see a syrupy consistency developing, approximately 15-20 minutes. The last 5-minutes are crucial, this is when the sugars are caramelizing and the vinegar needs close attention.
  6. If starting with 16 ounces of liquid, you should end up with about 2/3-1/2 cup. When in doubt to a spoon test.
  7. Allow gastrique to cool completely.

Run a tablespoon through syrup, if it clings to the spoon like honey then you have reached the desire consistency.  If still too runny, return pan to stovetop and bring to a boil one or two more times, swirling pan between boiling intervals.