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Over-reduced balsamic

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Mike Filigenzi

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Over-reduced balsamic

by Mike Filigenzi » Sun Apr 13, 2014 2:27 pm

Last night, we made a salad of beets with hazelnuts and a balsamic reduction. The recipe called for reducing a cup of balsamic to 1/3 cup of syrup, so we attempted to follow the instructions. What we got instead was half a cup of "balsamic caramel". It was so thick that it almost wouldn't come off of a spoon at all. Lifting a spoon out of it made for a long string of balsamic that became hair thin as you lifted the spoon higher but would not break. (We really should have just paid attention to the consistency of the syrup rather than trying to follow the recipe and reduce it to 1/3 cup.) We left it out overnight in the measuring cup with the spoon in it and it's hardened nicely, with the spoon stuck into it to the point that you can lift it by the spoon, turn it upside down, etc. (We really should have just paid attention to the consistency of the syrup rather than trying to follow the recipe and reduce it to 1/3 cup.)

I've made balsamic syrups before but I've never taken one this far. It seems to me that there might be some interesting uses for this hardened balsamic - it's intensely savory with a bitter edge - although you'd almost have to powder it. Any decent sized pieces might pull fillings out of teeth.
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Jim Cassidy

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Re: Over-reduced balsamic

by Jim Cassidy » Sun Apr 13, 2014 5:51 pm

Mike said:

The recipe called for reducing a cup of balsamic to 1/3 cup of syrup, so we attempted to follow the instructions.


Any chance the discrepancy was caused by you using higher quality feedstock?

I think throwing some of this ground to a fine powder into a pan sauce could be interesting. Adding the same powder could be an interesting modification to any vinaigrette. Any possible role as a cocktail adulterant?
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Frank Deis

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Re: Over-reduced balsamic

by Frank Deis » Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:36 pm

I went through a phase of taking Costco's Balsamic Vinegar and reducing it down to about half -- the initial reason was that I was making one of the "cheese courses" from Keller's French Laundry Cookbook. I think ashy chevre, with baby beets, I used both purple and golden when I could find them. Goldens have a milder flavor but both are good. I would load it into a plastic squeeze bottle (think mustard and ketchup) and put dots on the plate as Keller instructed me. I found quite a variety of uses of that syrupy balsamic. It was nice on sliced tomatoes for example.

Couldn't you just rehydrate your over-reduction and get something useful? Add a little water and stir...
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Re: Over-reduced balsamic

by Mike Filigenzi » Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:03 am

Yeah, it would make a good balsamic vinegar concentrate, although it did pick up a little bit of a bitter flavor from being cooked to that level. Not a bad flavor, though. I like the idea of keeping some around in a squeeze bottle.

Jim - It would be an intense cocktail ingredient as it's quite savory. Might be interesting to rim a glass with it on a Bloody Mary, though!
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Re: Over-reduced balsamic

by Bill Spohn » Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:41 pm

For salad use, consider using crema di balsamica rather than reducing it yourself . It has added grape juice which makes it a tad sweeter.
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Re: Over-reduced balsamic

by Jenise » Mon Apr 14, 2014 5:51 pm

Your balsamic had sugar added. A good aged real-thing balsamic wouldn't do that. I've reduced a few and not had any issues.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Over-reduced balsamic

by Mike Filigenzi » Tue Apr 15, 2014 2:09 am

Jenise wrote:Your balsamic had sugar added. A good aged real-thing balsamic wouldn't do that. I've reduced a few and not had any issues.


That was what I initially figured as well. I don't think that's the case, though. It's Kirkland's "Balsamic Vinegar of Modena". The ingredient list is just cooked grape must and wine vinegar. Certainly not high end but I doubt that there's added sugar. The grape must must have been pretty sweet.
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Re: Over-reduced balsamic

by Jenise » Wed Apr 16, 2014 3:21 pm

No chance that Kirkland's label isn't accurate?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

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