Need ideas for balsamic vinegar

The other day I splurged on a bottle of aged fig balsamic vinegar that I decided I couldn't live without but I now find myself unsure of how to use it (yes I probably should've thought about this in the store but that's why it's called an impulse purchase). Any ideas as to how I can highlight the amazingness that is my new vinegar? Thank you!

  • Posted by: GourMel
  • October 28, 2013
  • 11012 views
  • 20 Comments

16 Comments

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HalfPint
HalfPint October 28, 2013

I've had a simple salad of Gem lettuce, tossed very gently with a tiny (like a 1/2 tsp) amount of aged (50 years, I think) balsamic vinegar.

The aged balsamic is also good with fresh berries.

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HalfPint
HalfPint October 28, 2013

I wanted to also add that if it's a really old aged balsamic, it will be quite syrupy and there would be no need to reduce it. Just serve as is :)

Bevi
Bevi October 28, 2013

You can reduce it by heating it, and pour a bit atop fresh fruit and fresh fruit desserts as a delicious finish. Also, if you are a jam or condiment maker, a teaspoon to a tablespoon will add great flavor.

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RespectThePastry
RespectThePastry October 28, 2013

I agree with a lot of the ideas above. Reducing it to a syrup and using it to top ice cream and strawberries, strawberry shortcakes, a pork chop, pizza or caprese salad would be pretty tasty. You could also put together a fun cheese plate and use it to pair with toasted bread, cheeses, cured meat and nuts etc. Try and think outside the box a bit, you never know what wonderful combos you can discover :D

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GourMel
GourMel October 29, 2013

I try to cook with seasonal ingredients so will probably stay away from berries/tomatoes until it gets warm again. Pizza sounds interesting or maybe drizzled on a baked brie.

sexyLAMBCHOPx
sexyLAMBCHOPx October 28, 2013

You could make a fig balsamic cream sauce or a simple glaze for pork or chicken.

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sexyLAMBCHOPx
sexyLAMBCHOPx October 28, 2013

Also, roasted pears drizzled with your fig balsamic and sprinkled with some blue cheese would be nice.

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GourMel
GourMel October 29, 2013

Oh this sounds good, maybe with a little homemade ricotta!

ChefJune
ChefJune October 29, 2013

That fig balsamic would be delicious drizzled over a walnut tart.

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GourMel
GourMel October 29, 2013

It would! Do you have a recipe in mind?

Brette Warshaw
Brette Warshaw October 29, 2013

Would be awesome on a sandwich or over fresh mozzarella too!

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amysarah
amysarah October 29, 2013

I often do a simple, butternut squash puree soup, then top it with a small dollop of creme fraiche (or sour cream) and a drizzle of good thick balsamic. Fancies it up and is really tasty. (The fig sounds copacetic here too.)

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amysarah
amysarah October 29, 2013

I often do a simple, butternut squash puree soup, then top it with a small dollop of creme fraiche (or sour cream) and a drizzle of good thick balsamic. Fancies it up and is really tasty. (The fig sounds copacetic here too.)

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Maedl
Maedl October 29, 2013

If you have a true balsamic vinegar (traditionale, DOP), I would not try to reduce it. It should be perfect to use as is. Stick to something simple--a salad of fresh greens dressed with an excellent olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Or, if you have to do something fancy, drizzle a bit of the balsamic over vanilla ice cream.

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Dana
Dana October 29, 2013

I have a good balsamic dressing if u want the list

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bugbitten
bugbitten October 29, 2013

I'd just like to mention that my wife, Melanie (!) is allergic to figs. It might be worth it to mention to others that you are serving it. Worst case scenario: one of your guests is on the floor and can't breathe.

As to the really fine balsamic, I think you should not think of it as vinegar at all. I would not expose it to high heat or try to reduce it. Your next impulse buy should be an aged asiago!

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PazzoNico
PazzoNico October 29, 2013

Quick pan-sauce for steak/chicken/pork. Deglaze with a little stock or water, reduce, add the balsamic, reduce (maybe add a handful of currants or other dried fruit; chopped figs/apricots?), then swirl in (off the heat) a few knobs of cold butter. Or better yet, a few dollops of mascarpone, goat cheese, or gorgonzola.
You could also make a really nice gastrique. Strawberry gastrique is delicious with pork.

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PazzoNico
PazzoNico October 29, 2013

I believe burrata should be mentioned among these suggestions (if you don't mind another little splurge). Burrata, extra virgin oil, balsamic, some (ahem, a lot) bread = lunch.

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aobenour
aobenour November 1, 2013

In addition to all the wonderful ideas above I would also suggest finding a copy of The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper. It's a classic: full of recipes from Emilia-Romagna: the birthplace of balsamic vinegar. You might find new ideas there.

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Nancy Harmon Jenkins
Nancy Harmon Jenkins November 3, 2013

Find yourself a really great, nicely aged parmigiano reggiano (not the kind in your supermarket deli case), flake it in somewhat larger than bite-sized wedges, pile on a plate and dribble your balsamic over. Serve it as a dessert at the end of the meal, or as an appetizer with a glass of prosecco before. That's the way it would be served here in Italy and there's no finer combination in my book--unless it's the one mentioned of strawberries (fresh, seasonal ones) and balsamic.

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