Bacon is a gateway drug with a power that reaches far beyond converting vegetarians to meat eaters. It's also the downfall of heart-healthy households...
Balsamic-Herb Marinated Strawberries with Peppered Mascarpone and Crisp Bacon
1/2 pound bacon for the recipe, plus more for lossage while cooking due to... quality testing.
8 oz mascarpone cheese
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper (freshly ground!)
15 fresh strawberries (see above note about increasing for lossage), chilled in fridge.
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp fresh basil, chopped fine
1 tsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped fine (optional)
Cut the bacon into 1/4-in wide strips. Saute until crispy, drain well.
In a bowl, mix the mascarpone and pepper until evenly distributed, transfer to a ziplock bag. (Or a pastry bag, if you have one of those fancy things.) Stick in fridge.
Trim the green end off the strawberries and slice 'em in half, gently toss with vinegar, basil, and (optional) parsley. (Another large ziplock bag makes this pretty easy and low-mess.) Lay strawberries out on serving tray. Cut a corner off the ziplock with the cheese (or use the pastry bag as directed), and pipe the cheese on the strawberry halves. Garnish with bacon.
Makes 30 appetizers, which is never enough until you're too full for dinner, because, well, strawberries. and sweet cheese. and Bacon!
Do NOT ask for a calorie or cholesterol count after eating.