For my husband’s birthday, we stayed over at the Ballantyne Resort here in Charlotte for a mini-getaway. We did the spa thing in the afternoon, and then treated ourselves to too many cocktails and an amazing meal at The Gallery (the restaurant onsite). It was the perfect way to celebrate.
Before our meal came, the chef sent out a small cup of strawberry and balsamic soup topped with goat cheese as an amuse-bouche. I would have never thought of using strawberries in a soup, let alone serving it prior to dinner, but it totally worked. It served as a palate cleanser as well and was such an unexpected but pleasant surprise. I made a mental note to try to replicate it at home.
What I love about this recipe is that it triples as a soup course, an amuse-bouche AND a palate cleanser. It’s light and small in serving size, so it doesn’t interfere with anything else you may have planned for your menu. It’s super easy and takes advantage of strawberries which will be at their peak very shortly!! Here’s the recipe.
Strawberry Soup with Balsamic Reduction & Creme Fraiche
Serves 6-8 as a small starter
4 1/2 cups of strawberries, washed and hulled
2 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp chopped mint
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp creme fraiche (or goat cheese, depending on the tastes of your guests…mine can be picky)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Place strawberries and water in blender and blend until pureed.
Transfer strawberries to a fine sieved colander and strain out seeds.
Rinse blender and return seedless pureed strawberries to blender. Add mint, sugar, and lemon and blend until smooth.
Chill soup in fridge until ready to serve (this part can be made up to a day in advance).
While the soup chills, reduce the balsamic vinegar. Simply pour vinegar into small sauce pan and heat over low to medium heat until liquid is reduced by half. Cool.
When ready to serve, pour soup into small cups (or even shot glasses). Top with a small dollop of creme fraiche (around 1 tsp), and drizzle top with balsamic reduction. Serve and enjoy!