Making a balsamic reduction is easy with a big payoff! If you can boil water, you can make a balsamic reduction sauce 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.
There are several terms used to describe a balsamic vinegar reduction. They essentially all mean the same thing: balsamic reduction, balsamic glaze, balsamic reduction sauce. A sauce could include more ingredients, but it's also used to describe a simple reduction as well.
What I especially love about making a balsamic reduction recipe 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 balsamic reduction sauce.
You'll find so many uses for this. Keep a nice bottle handy for storage if you have one, or a bowl mason jar will do just fine. You might need inspiration to get started, so here's a good list to get going. (My personal favorite is to add my balsamic vinegar sauce to a cheese board; it really elevates the sophistication factor!)
I've shared the balsamic reduction recipe at the end of this article, although it's really more of a technique than a “recipe”. As long as you have the vinegar on hand, simply master the easy technique and you'll be all set.
HOW TO USE BALSAMIC VINEGAR REDUCTION:
- Grill a wedge of romaine, top with blue cheese and drizzle with BR.
- Slice some juicy sweet strawberries, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and give it a drizzle of balsamic reduction sauce.
- Add some to grilled or roasted vegetables – you'll never look at veggies the same way!
- Add a small dish to a cheese plate.
- Make a pizza with sliced tomatoes and goat cheese, pull out of the oven and drizzle with your balsamic glaze.
- Spread crostini with blue or goat cheese & a drizzle of BR. Add fresh raspberries and it'll knock your socks off!
- AMAZING with fresh peaches!
- Add to any salad with a bit of olive oil for a fantastic and easy dressing.
- Try some over vanilla ice cream.
- Spoon some over an avocado for a tasty snack.
- Use it to deglaze your pan after cooking chicken or steak.
- Roast some fresh spring asparagus then drizzle your BR over the top.
- Mix some with raspberry jam for a fantastic sauce on grilled chicken.
- Spread a little on wild salmon before and/or after grilling or roasting.
- Slice fresh summer tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and add some fresh basil for a Caprese salad, then season well and drizzle over a high-quality extra-virgin olive oil and your balsamic vinegar reduction.
- Cook some pork chops and shallots in a skillet. Remove pork when cooked through, leaving shallots in pan. Add the balsamic reduction and coat shallots, then spoon over pork and serve.
- Make a grilled cheese with gruyere, then dip it in your balsamic reduction sauce.
- Toss with hot caramelized onions and serve on just about anything (burger, steak, pizza!)
- Stuff endive with goat cheese and sliced cherry tomatoes, then drizzle with your balsamic glaze.
- Make portobello mushroom ”pizzas” using shredded mozzarella and sliced tomatoes. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar reduction and garnish with fresh basil ribbons.
Our most popular recipe using balsamic vinegar:
MORE RECIPES USING BALSAMIC VINEGAR:
- Balsamic & Parmesan Slow Cooker Meatloaf
- Mexican Chopped Salad with Spicy Sweet Chipotle Balsamic Dressing
- Spicy Balsamic & Honey Chicken Wings
- Baked Brie with Roasted Balsamic Cranberries
- Wedge Salad with Bacon, Blue Cheese & Balsamic
- Goat Cheese Pasta with Balsamic Chicken & Roasted Grapes
- Prosciutto, Peaches and a Balsamic Vinegar Reduction
- 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.