"Food is our common ground, a universal experience." - James Beard

Friday, December 23, 2011

Balsamic Vinegar Reduction - from Jeff

Jeff made a wonderful balsamic vinegar reduction last year for a Christmas party, and I thought it would make a great last-minute Christmas recipe since it only requires a few ingredients.  I've always loved balsamic vinegar, but I'm not sure that I'd had a reduction before.  The consistency is  more like a syrup.  He used it as a topping for slices of brie - it was amazing! 

Balsamic Vinegar Reduction
1 bottle of balsamic vinegar (the better the vinegar, the better the reduction)
Powdered sugar to taste

Heat the vinegar in a sauce pan on high.  As soon as it starts to boil, turn down the heat to medium.  Stir and watch closely as the vinegar cooks (some recipes say to whisk the entire time it cooks).  It should cook down to 1/3 of its original size and become much thicker.  Be careful that you don't burn the vinegar on the bottom of the pan!  Once it gets to the right size/consistency, add a little powdered sugar to taste.  Jeff says that you may want to stop cooking it just before you think it's actually thick enough as it will continue to firm as it cools (if it firms too much, reheat it for a minute and add a small bit of water).

The reduction can be served on fruit, caprese salads (tomato/mozzarella/basil), or on cheeses.  If served with cheese, it would be easiest to serve the reduction in something that pours easily (think creamer or gravy boat) next to your block of brie or other cheese.  If you prepour the reduction, it may get too sticky.

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