Strawberries in Spiced Wine with Olive Oil-Flavored Ice Cream
- Candied olives:
- 2 3/4 ounces firm brine-preserved black olives, seeds removed (not canned)
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 7 tablespoons water
- Ice cream:
- 2 cups milk
- 9 ounces heavy cream
- 1 vanilla pod, halved lenghthwise
- 5 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 6 1/2 tablespoons olive oil*
- Wine syrup:
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups red wine
- 1/2 vanilla pod
- 1/2 orange, zested
- 1/2 inch piece cinnamon stick
- Pinch powdered saffron
- 1 1/4 pounds strawberries, rinsed and hulled (caps removed)
- 4 mint leaves
- 4 small cinnamon sticks
- 4 small vanilla pods
- *The chef recommends Catalan olive oil from Spain, soft and round, with a slight almond flavor. Another fruity olive oil can be substituted.
The day before serving, candy the olives. Cut them into quarters and blanch them in a small pan of boiling water, repeating the process 2 or 3 times to de-salt them; drain. In the same pan, make a syrup of the powdered sugar and water. Add the olives, bring to a boil, and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let olives soak 24 hours.
Several hours before serving, make the ice cream. Heat the milk with the cream and split vanilla pod.
In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar together to obtain a frothy consistency. To yolks, gradually add the hot milk and cream, beating constantly with a wooden spoon. Cook over very low heat, continuing to stir until the mixture coats the spoon. Stir in the olive oil and let cool. Place in the freezer until firm, 2 to 3 hours.
At least 1 hour before serving, prepare the strawberries and the syrup. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, red wine, orange zest, the halved vanilla pod, the cinnamon stick, and saffron. Bring to a boil, then pour the strawberries into the mixture.
Bring mixture to a second boil and allow to boil briskly for 5 minutes, then let the mixture cool briefly. With a slotted spoon, remove the strawberries to a bowl. Continue boiling syrup over medium heat until it is thickened and reduced. Add the strawberries to this syrup and let cool 1 hour or more, to room temperature.
Presentation: Into 4 well-chilled soup plates, serve the strawberry mixture in its syrup. On the side put 1 or 2 dollops of olive oil-flavored ice cream. Garnish by poking into each serving a fresh mint leaf (or a tiny sprig of olive leaves if available), a small section of vanilla bean pod, and a small piece of cinnamon stick. Sprinkle candied olives on top and serve.
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