what’s in a reduction?

So, here’s the riff on yesterday’s recipe for macerated strawberries.

If you were sitting in an elegant restaurant reading the menu by candlelight and it said one of the dessert items was a plate of fresh strawberries with a balsamic reduction you would be intrigued.

Here’s the thing to keep in mind. Those restaurant menu listings are meant to sound like something you wouldn’t make for yourself at home. That’s part of the experience.

A balsamic reduction is actually vinegar that has been boiled down. What happens when you boil vinegar? The amount of vinegar in the pot reduces and thickens. And there’s your balsamic reduction.

The advantage of reducing the balsamic vinegar is that it concentrates the flavor. The tart flavor of balsamic vinegar is a contrast to the sweetness of the strawberries.

Macerated strawberries with a balsamic reduction can be paired with a good quality cheese, like a nutty Parmesan, or a soft cheese like an organic goat cheese.

It’s a departure from your usual dessert offerings.

Did you know that balsamic vinegar comes in a delicate and fruity white version?

It’s a little less assertive than the dark version of balsamic vinegar. The white balsamic vinegar combines the balsamic vinegar with the lighter flavor of white wine vinegar.

Both versions of balsamic vinegar can be boiled down to use as a reduction. The thicker texture of the reduction can be used to drizzle over fruit for a pucker of a finish for your fruit.

Macerate the berries with some sugar like the recipe linked out to Martha Stewart’s version in yesterday’s post and finish with a reduction of dark or white balsamic reduction.

The sweet and tart flavor combination is an easy-to-prepare dish for any night of the week. Head outside to your herbs and grab some mint leaves for scattering over the strawberries.

The fruits of the season deserve the brightest and freshest ingredients you can find. It’s what makes the fruit in season the star of the plate.

They don’t need a lot of dressing up to be a stand-out dessert.

We’re headed to the farmers’ market now. The conversation will have to shift to cherries now.

Stop by tomorrow to get ideas for what to do with all those beautiful cherries arriving at the markets!


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