Chances are you have a bottle of balsamic vinegar on hand. But do you understand all the incredible things you can do with it? Get inspired with these seasonal ideas to make the most of balsamic vinegar this summer.
An Italian invention, balsamic vinegar is widely available in most supermarkets and comes in a variety of flavors and qualities. Its tangy, mildly sweet taste makes it a wonderful addition to salad dressings, marinades and even desserts!
Salad dressing and marinade
The most common use for balsamic vinegar is at a salad dressing. A simple combination of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar makes for a healthy and flavorful basic vinaigrette. To make a creamy balsamic vinaigrette, combine together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, a dash of mustard and some grated Parmesan into a food processor.
Try adding in other components for a more inspired dressing table -- such as this maple balsamic dressing, orange and balsamic vinaigrette or molasses and balsamic vinaigrette.
Apart from being great in salad dressings, balsamic vinegar also makes an amazingly flavorful marinade. The acid helps break down tough cuts of meat, as in this grilled balsamic and garlic marinated steak. More tender cuts of meat can be flavored with a quick marinade, such as this grilled balsamic chicken.
Glazes and reductions
Balsamic vinegar is also great reduced and brushed on salmon or as a glaze for cartilage. And to make any meal feel fancier, prepare a balsamic vinegar reduction. Simply simmer balsamic vinegar for about ten minutes until it has reduced and is a thick, syrupy consistency.
This concentrates the flavor and is exceptional drizzled over meats or grilled vegetables. Try out this beef tenderloin with red wine balsamic reduction or this summery and vegetarian caprese tart with herbed ricotta and balsamic reduction.
Cocktails and desserts
As much as you love balsamic vinegar, you may not have thought to drink it before -- but why not? The candy flavor can be an abrupt and delicious addition to cocktails, especially when incorporated into a simple syrup.
Try out this strawberry balsamic simple syrup next time you're hosting a cocktail party, and get ready to impress your guests! The Desmo cocktail and this fun take on a Bloody Mary also incorporate balsamic vinegar.
The sweetness of balsamic vinegar is also exactly what makes it a beautiful ingredient to use in creative desserts. It pairs naturally with strawberries, so this panna cotta with strawberries in balsamic sauce and easy balsamic strawberries (recipe below) are naturals. It's also great in this cozy recipe for warm balsamic and caramel apples, which is perfect any time of year.
Balsamic strawberries recipe
1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons high quality balsamic vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Whipped cream, for serving
Torn mint, for garnish
Place the strawberries into a bowl and toss with the sugar.
Allow to macerate for 10 minutes at room temperature.
Add the balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. Gently throw and allow to sit for another 10 minutes.
Spoon into four bowls or glasses and top with whipped cream and ripped mint, or spoon the mixture onto pound cake or vanilla ice cream.