Marinated summer fruits are about to become your new favorite topping

Illustration for article titled Marinated summer fruits are about to become your new favorite topping
Image: Allison Corr
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Welcome to Turn Off The Oven Week, featuring creative ways to beat the heat and stay far away from your stovetop.

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Walk through your local farmer’s market, or even the produce section of your grocery store, and you’ll notice that summer fruit has arrived. Raspberries and peaches are looking their best, and plump blueberries and blackberries are bountiful in many places.

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I love this time of year. I admit to devouring an entire carton of raspberries while driving home from the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, which is why I usually try to buy two. And a few years ago, while attending a vinegar class at Zingerman’s Deli, I learned a transformative way to serve summer fruit: marinate it in a light fruit vinegar.

Zingerman’s sells agrodolce, a white balsamic vinegar that’s made by Sante Bertoni on his family estate outside Modena, Italy. In my class, we learned a very simple marinating method: Slice up a cup or two of summer berries or fruit, leaving raspberries and blackberries whole. Place them in a bowl and add 1-2 tablespoons of agrodolce. Stir, or cover the container and shake until the fruit is evenly coated.

There are infinite uses for perfect summer berries like these. Agrodolce is one of the best.
There are infinite uses for perfect summer berries like these. Agrodolce is one of the best.
Photo: Micheline Maynard

The agrodolce will start to draw the juice out of the fruit, especially if the fruit is on the ripe side, and you’ll end up with a lovely mixture that essentially produces its own dressing. Letting the mixture stand for thirty minutes is enough, if you want your fruit to stay recognizable. If you leave it for more than two hours, the fruit will begin to break down, although it’s still delicious.

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I like to toss this marinated fruit with greens and goat cheese, which results in an even creamier dressing. You can also put the fruit mixture on plain yogurt for a light and tangy dessert. It’s a great side dish for grilled meats, or a topping for grilled veggies—basically, you can’t go wrong if you apply it to dishes like any other fermented condiment.

If you end up over-marinating your fruit, you can blitz it with a stick blender or in a food processor, then use the resulting sauce on just about anything, and even in a smoothie. A bottle of agrodolce also makes a great gift, especially if you share your fruit-marinating secrets with the recipient.

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DISCUSSION

This is similar to basic some techniques for making shrubs, though depending on your end-goal, you might macerate the fruit with sugar and then blend with vinegar. But I’ve seen recipes that start with “infusing” the vinegar with the fruit first, which is what you’re doing here.

Anyway, shrubs fucking rule.