Friday, December 21, 2007

Reduced Balsamic Vinegar

Because I like to use vinegars with less of an edge, I used to buy saba and aged balsamic vinegar. Problem is, they're expensive. $25.00 - $75.00/pint.

There's no substitute for saba or aged balsamic vinegar, but I discovered a way to use ordinary balsamic vinegar and increase its flavor.

Buy the cheapest balsamic you can find. At a restaurant supply store like Smart and Final, you can buy a gallon of balsamic vinegar for under $20.00.

Pour the vinegar into a large pot and put on the lowest flame possible. To avoid a "cooked" flavor, all you want to do is accelerate evaporation.

A gallon of vinegar will take 10-15 hours to reduce the balsamic to 20% of the original volume. Taste the vinegar. You're done when it has a slightly sweet flavor.

Wet a piece of cheese cloth and put it inside a funnel. To get rid of any solids that might have built up, pour the reduced balsamic through the cheese cloth. Pour the "syrup" into squeeze bottles, the kind you get from a restaurant supply store for catsup.

Use the syrup on salads, drizzled with olive oil, or to finish homemade pizza, or on vanilla ice cream and strawberries.

For an individual serving, take 1/4 cup of vinegar and reduce over a slow flame. That will take 10-15 minutes and make about a tablespoon. Let cool and add to a salad that serves 4.

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