The first time I ever had thick, sour sweet balsamic reduction was at a French café in Central California. I dunked my bread into the impossibly dense balsamic vinegar, and watched as it clung to the baguette in sticky pools. It was unlike any bread, oil & vinegar experience I’d had in the past, and I was amazed at what could happen when balsamic vinegar was cooked down until it was a sticky sauce, the texture of maple syrup.
After that experience, I decided to try my hand at making balsamic reduction at home. I got out my trusty skillet and a ten dollar bottle of balsamic vinegar and watched as the vinegar reduced and reduced and reduced until there wasn’t a whole lot there. My husband came home from work and asked, “Why does the house smell like vinegar?” And oh, yeah, I ended up burning the vinegar. So the experiment was a flop all around.
Sometime after that I was sent this balsamic glaze from Mandarano, and it totally took me back to that evening at the café in California. Straight from the bottle the reduction can be squeezed into a bowl for dipping with a crusty baguette, or it can be drizzled over a cherry and strawberry bruschetta as shown above. (I used the Summertime Cherry-Basil Bruschetta recipe from The Oh She Glows Cookbook and just skipped the step of making a balsamic reduction from scratch.)
The shelf stable glaze lasts and lasts in the cupboard, and since it packs a wallop of flavor, I only have to use a small amount each time. Plus, a drizzle across a plate of roasted vegetables or fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes amps up a simple dish and makes it look (and taste) like something a lot more elaborate.
Mandarano Balsamic Glaze & Sauce can be purchased on their website, balsamicsauce.com.
Disclosure: I received this balsamic glaze for review, but the thoughts and opinions are totally my own.
Image credit: Photos by Cadry Nelson