With a couple of weeks to ponder New Year’s resolutions for 2014 – and I’m guessing many of them, (mine included) involve the art of reducing, as in – weight, clutter, shopping, stress, texting, loafing, bad habits – I could go on, but I won’t. So, in the name of reducing, let’s start small – meet balsamic reduction, the drizzle juice from heaven, and by any other name – reduction, sauce, glaze, syrup – tastes as other-worldly. And just like many of my recipes, this too is a method – simmer the vinegar until the desired consistency is reached – the more it simmers the thicker it gets – which is pretty much the case with most things that hang over heat – the simple science of reducing. And when you check out the price for a bottle of store-bought, you will wonder why more of us don’t take reductions into our own hands – well, we do now! And if you’re looking for a quick, oh-so-easy hostess gift, this would be it!
Keep reducing for a thicker syrup headed for meats and vegetables, or stop at thinner for marinating and spooning over roasts. You can simply reduce the vinegar in its pure state or, as I did, add a sweetener and flavours. Flavour up a couple of jars of this culinary antidote to all things blah and you’ll never be caught with your flavour pants down again! Try adding spice to one batch like star anise or cloves and drizzle over salad, vegetables and fruit; simmer another with hearty herbs like sage, thyme, bay leaves or rosemary and use with any meat, poultry or fish. And the best part, in the refrigerator, it has a shelf life on par with freeze-dried space food – so here’s to making out of this world reductions – and when resolutions for 2015 roll around, yes, you did indeed reduce something!
PS – try this method with various wines and flavoured vinegars – keep in mind that the natural sugar content of the wine or vinegar will affect the amount you’re left with and cooking time.