The Saga of Balsamic Reduction

Tomato Salad with Balsamic Reduction

Tomato Salad with Balsamic Reduction

Ok, a couple of years ago during a trip to Tuscany, I bought some super aged (which means it had reduced to a syrup)balsamic vinegar. I paid $60 for a 100 ml bottle (which isn’t a very big bottle at all) at the Verrazzano Winery. I rationed it for a good six months but, holy cow, was it delicious!!! It had the mellowest, sweetest taste you can imagine. It was fabulous on fresh fruit, with meat, and with combinations like slices of pear wrapped in prosciutto then drizzled with this stuff. Anyway, I still think about how good that stuff was but have not been able to find any in the US. So I’ve been reading people’s blogs that include recipes that call for balsamic reduction and thought, hey, maybe that would come close to tasting like the stuff I bought in Tuscany. So I gave it a try.

Several of the blogs mentioned to be careful not to burn it as you’re reducing it. So I started with a cup of Costco balsamic in a medium frying pan. I brought it to a boil, then turned it to a very low setting to simmer slowly and went outside to do some watering. Well, when I got back it was so thick I could hardly stir it! I tried adding some more balsamic to thin it but gave up on that. Then I noticed that when some of it dripped on my granite counter top that it kind of hardened so I thought maybe I could make little drips that would harden enough that they could be eaten with fruit or something. Well that didn’t work either so I started over with another cup of balsamic.

This time I stayed right there and watched it, adjusting the heat as needed and stirring it every so often. I never brought it to a full boil, either. I just slowly let it get up to a simmer. After about 20 minutes it had reduced by half. It turned out great! I drizzled some on fresh tomatoes with chiffonade of basil and freshly grated parmesan-reggiano cheese, salt & pepper and it was fantastic. Not quite as rich as the bottle I bought it Tuscany but a close second. I guess it’ll have to do until I go to Tuscany again!!

Reduced balsamic coating the jar

Reduced balsamic coating the jar


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