Sweet, tangy and thick, balsamic reduction clings to everything it touches. Almost every day this week, lunch was a simple slice of whole grain toast topped with goat cheese, cherry tomatoes, micro greens, and a teaspoon of balsamic reduction. Crunchy, sweet, savory and salty; it checked all the boxes.
Dinner was more of the same, only with a twist. Organic chicken breast, marinated for 20 minutes in 1/2C of balsamic vinegar. Baked in the oven in the same vinegar. The chicken was topped with chopped strawberries, torn fresh basil, a teaspoon of goat cheese, and … a teaspoon of balsamic reduction. Springtime on a plate!
How to make it? Start with choosing your balsamic carefully. Some balsamic vinegars are aged for years and can be quite pricey! Real balsamic vinegar can only be produced with grapes from Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy. Commercial balsamic is made by blending traditional balsamic with red wine vinegar. Find a brand you like, both in cooking, and plain on a salad. After you have chosen your vinegar, pour 2C into a non-reactive pan, and cook over medium low for about 30 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by half. It will taste sweet, but it is actually very acidic, and it will last in your fridge, jarred, for about a month. (An Italian market may stock already processed balsamic reduction, but this is a cooking blog, so we aren’t going there!)