Strawberry tartare and citrus mascarpone mousse

Spring is finally here, it seems, and strawberries are already everywhere on the markets stands! It is time to celebrate and refresh our palates and discover new sensations! I know, it sounds a little bit too much! But really, we were waiting for the spring for soooo long, and today, I feel just like taking every bite of life and be happy!

Yesterday, I was explaining to my friends at a dinner, that strawberries really get their kick when you add some balsamic vinegar, black pepper or mint. We usually try to exalt the taste with the sugar, but I never really liked sweet strawberries,... What I want it is the strong taste of the strawberries like the ones I was eating in my grandma's garden! Nowadays, the taste of this delicate and beautiful fruit is most of the time forgotten or hidden behind the industry that is focused more on the size and the color of the fruit that its aroma!

This is an easy recipe, quite quick and so original that your friends will be impressed! My friends loved it and it is a very original and Asian influence!
For 8 persons:

The mascarpone mousse:
- 120 grs of mascarpone
- 1 lemon
- 1 tbs. of agave syrup
- 2 whites of eggs

The strawberries tartare:
-  250 grs. of strawberries
- 1 handful of fresh Thai basil leaves
- black pepper
- 1 lime
- 2 tbs. vanilla sugar

1/ First prepare the tartare. Clean the strawberries gently, dry them in kitchen paper, cut the stem and then cut the strawberries in small pieces.

2/ In a bowl, put the strawberries, add the basil thinly sliced, some fresh grounded black pepper, and 2 table spoons of vanilla sugar. Grate the skin of the lime and then add also 1/2 of the juice. Mix smoothly and reserve in the fridge.
These 2 steps can be made in advance and at least 30 minutes before service in order that all the flavours get together.

3/ Prepare the mascarpone mousse, stirring the mascarpone with the agave syrup. I chose this syrup because it is easier mix with the cream cheese and will give a light caramel taste to the mousse.

4/ Grate the skin of the lemon and add to the mascarpone mixture as well as 1/2 of the juice. Stir and mix. Reserve in the fridge. Again, this step can be made in advance.

5/ Just before service, get the white eggs stiff and mix them delicately with the mascarpone cream.

6/ In a  small glass or bowl, put the strawberries and top them with the mascarpone mousse. Decorate with some basil leave or pistachio powder and serve!

The taste of the strawberries with the Thai basil is just amazing! The tartare is fresh with a liquorice hint, but also stronger thanks to the black pepper, not too sweet, not bitter at all! The mascarpone mousse is just like a piece of cloud, fluffy and creamy that will fit sooo well with the strawberries. Again the citric hint balances the creamy and fat texture. Piece of heaven!

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