If you really wanted to try this hack and were missing the port—say you were in need of an impressive, very-last-minute dinner party dessert, or something else to throw on your cheese plate or to pep up your steak or soup or salad (or you know, your fancy, well-priced quarterly balsamic delivery from Food52 had run out)—you absolutely could. You could just leave the port out, or splash in a fruity red wine, or honey, or cherry juice and tweak the flavor and consistency as you like. Or you could just surrender as I did, and commit this formula to memory, knowing that it will be your new tool to have this elixir anytime, near instantly. Adapted slightly from Kitchen Hacks: How Clever Cooks Get Things Done (Cook's Illustrated, 2015). —Genius Recipes
Combine ingredients in shallow, nonreactive pan and slowly reduce over extremely low heat. Mixture should be barely simmering. Continue until mixture is reduced to half its original volume. Let cool to room temperature and use immediately.
Serve over vanilla ice cream or panna cotta, on ripe pears or strawberries, with cheeses (especially, but not limited to, Parmesan), stirred into soups and drizzled over grilled steaks and pork chops—or anywhere else your food could use a hit of bright, sweet tang.
Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They're handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we've folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. Watch for new Genius Recipes every Wednesday morning on our blog, dug up by Food52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore.