Making a balsamic reduction is easy with a big payoff! If you can boil water, you can make a balsamic reduction to use on and in any number of dishes.
I will preach to anyone who will listen about the magic of a balsamic reduction.
WHAT IS BALSAMIC REDUCTION?
My friends laugh at me when I use such terms; they think it sounds so fancy and refined. I suppose they’re right but it’s really me who has the last laugh since I know that, for all its fanciness, it’s just vinegar in a pan, simmered until some of it evaporates. It “reduces” itself, therefore it’s called a “reduction”.
Vinegar. Pan. Heat. And a tiny little bit of time.
Not so fancy after all.
The magic comes from what happens to the vinegar as a result of its reduction. It takes on a syrupy consistency, thick enough to coat and glaze almost anything you can think of. The flavor intensifies and sweetens, as well, becoming something that tastes like balsamic vinegar but is close-your-eyes-and-sigh exquisite.
What I especially love about making a balsamic reduction is that you don’t need a high-quality balsamic. In fact, please don’t go purchasing some 80-year balsamic for this. Not that I don’t love and appreciate a great balsamic, it’s just that it’s not necessary for reduction purposes. Reducing an average balsamic will take it to a whole new level anyway (I often just use the Trader Joe’s brand) so there’s no need to go out and spend your mortgage.
And, of course, I love all the things that you can do with it! I’ll admit that I can’t help eating some straight from the spoon but there are so many fantastic ways to use this magical glaze. I’ve used it on everything from a Goat Cheese Gratin to Prosciutto & Peaches to Italian Sausage Pizzas (it goes surprisingly well with Italian sausage).
But if none of those recipes is your thing, the list below has another 20 awesome ways to use it! So get out your vinegar and your pan, turn on a little heat and allow yourself just a bit of time, then choose any number of these wonderful ways to enjoy it…even if it’s just between you and your spoon.
Our most popular recipe using balsamic vinegar:
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- Place vinegar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and keep it at a strong simmer until reduced by approximately one-third and mixture coats a spoon.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool (it will thicken as it cools). If it's too thick, add a bit more vinegar, place back over heat and stir until incorporated. If not thick enough, put back on burner until it thickens a bit more.