A balsamic vinaigrette dressing can turn a nominal green salad into a refreshing mixed fresh Spring salad with a zest of Italian flair. Using aged balsamic adds a bit of gourmet into anyone’s kitchen. Send a bottle to a friend for a gift and you may turn their culinary world upside down.
“The keynote to happiness within the four walls that make any home is plain, wholesome, well cooked food, attractively served.” – Louis P. De Gouy
Balsamic Vinegar has an almost other worldly flavor that enhances nearly any food it touches. You can see a visible change on the face of someone who is trying Italian balsamico for the first time. Their face is transformed by awe and delight.
Cost and Quality
The cost of balsamic vinegar is tempered by the fact that a little bit goes a long way. Typical recipes use little more than ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar, so the cost of the bottle is generally offset by the long-term usefulness and good taste of the product.
You may be interested in knowing that balsamic vinegar is used for much more than an ingredient in salad dressings. For instance, many will no longer eat fresh strawberries if they can’t apply a bit of aged balsamic vinegar.
If you are a fan of fresh vegetables you should know that balsamic vinegar can make a perfect marinade for grilled veggies such as bell peppers and eggplant. That same marinade can be used when grilling fish and chicken. Red meats can also gain a complimentary taste using an Italian balsamic like Villa Bellentani.
When cooking with balsamic vinegar it is important to note that it may be best to apply the vinegar after the dish is fully cooked. Adding balsamic vinegar to your favorite dishes will, in fact, enhance the flavor, but heat mellows the taste and may be best applied after the cooking is finished.
When used in a balsamic vinaigrette, the blending of this famed Italian vinegar and extra virgin olive oil results in an incredible accent to fresh seafood as well as asparagus and artichokes.
There are even exclusive ice creams that use balsamic vinegar to create a one of kind desert. Drizzling a small amount of thick balsamic vinegar over vanilla ice cream is a popular dessert in Europe.
Supply is Shorter than Demand
It may surprise you to know that only 3,000 gallons of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale balsamic vinegar is released to the public each year. This has brought about a new group of modestly priced balsamic vinegar that varies widely in price. The reduction in price may generally be attributed to limited aging. It is this type of balsamic vinegar that may be best suited to marinades, sauces and dressings.
Beware of the very inexpensive varieties due to the fact that they are often developed using caramelized brown sugar (to add color and sweetness) and common vinegar. They may also include preservatives that many are allergic to.
Balsamic Vinaigrette Made Easy
Should you desire a homemade bottle of balsamic vinaigrette the instructions are as follows:
One part balsamic vinegar
Four to five parts olive oil
Season and pepper to taste
A teaspoon of mustard (Dijon is often preferred) per half cup of dressing
The following should be used only when desired.
Chives and sage – or other favorite complimentary herbs
Finely chopped shallot of ginger root
(Please note that many find garlic to be incompatible with balsamic vinegar.)