Balsamic Reduction

I had this amazing salad at a restaurant once. It was back in my vegetarian days and it was a warm pile of grilled vegetables (eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and onions, I think) on a bed of crisp romaine lettuce. There was a blackish dressing on it, sprinkled over the top and then little circles of it at the edge of the plate. It was delicious. Plain, high quality balsamic vinegar. Here’s the thing: high quality balsamic vinegar is expensive and can be hard to find here in the suburbs. Also, I am cheap. So, I found a way to fake it. Food purists just close the page now.

I first made a balsamic reduction as part of a sauce for a pork tenderloin. It was tasty and familiar, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Then a few days later, after it percolated in the back of my head, I figured out that it reminded me of the mythical grilled vegetable salad.  So, I bought a bottle of the cheap stuff and boiled away and put it on some tomatoes. Yum. (Theoretically, that restaurant may have used a reduction. I don’t know for sure.) So, here it is, a one ingredient dressing that involves some cooking. The taste is sweet at first and then tart at the end. It is quite thick, so more appropriate for drizzling than tossing with greens.

Balsamic Reduction
yields 1/4 cup
1 cup balsamic vinegar

  1. Put vinegar in 1 quart sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat
  2. Reduce heat enough to maintain a slight boil/hard simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
  3. The vinegar should reduce significantly and thicken enough to coat a spoon. Reduce it to about 1/4 cup.
  4. Pour it in a heat proof glass bowl or measuring cup to cool.
  5. Cool to at least room temperature before using. Enjoy!
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