Summer is not the season to be slaving over a hot stove or continuously opening and closing steaming oven doors. Nor is it the season to be slow ingredients till they resemble something interiorly different in taste. Summer is the season for fresh produce, a quick boil here or blanch there – minimal time in the kitchen to leave more time for being outdoors. This is the perfect appetiser, dessert or refreshing treat for those sweltering summer days.
I’m lucky enough to have hedgerow after hedgerow of wild berries here where I live in the French Alps. Whenever the season strikes so I’m always looking for ways to use them in ways where I can enhance their fresh-just-picked flavour as best I can. This is a great way to use fresh seasonal berries in a recipe that is completely deliciously and effortlessly sophisticated. Use whatever berries you have to hand, taste and use your judgement with sweetening; you may have a selection of tart berries which need a little more sweetener or you might have a load of fragrant strawberries which are sweet enough.
The drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil may seem strange but adds an umami hit which won’t go unnoticed. As for the balsamic vinegar and black pepper, these two ingredients marry so perfectly with berries; they become sweeter, richer and more vibrant. Serve with good quality vanilla ice cream or tart crème fraîche for a grown-up berries ‘n’ cream.