The Glam Factor

I have watched Top Chef religiously since I stumbled upon the middle of season 3, and have not ceased to be amazed by the glamorous foodie creations the cheftestants come up with.  I love when someone pulls something together for which I understand neither the ingredients, nor the cooking methods.  I watch the show week after week, but would never deign to make anything resembling one of their complex creations.

Last night however, I took one step toward Top Chefdom.  Last night I made a reduction.  A reduction!  One of those glamorous sauces you always hear about but never think you could actually make on your own.

Except it turns out that a reduction is just a sauce, reduced.  Hence the name.  It’s boiled down, which makes the flavors more concentrated, similar to what happens when you roast something in the oven.  It’s actually quite an easy process.

I scoured the Internet, and consulted a couple other sources to come up with the recipe for my balsamic reduction.  Turns out?  It’s really just balsamic vinegar boiled in a saucepan.  Some cooks included chicken broth, or other such liquids, in the mix.  I was looking for an intense, syrupy consistency though, and didn’t want to add anything that might get in the way of that rich, sweet flavor.

To make your own balsamic reduction, you will need:

  • 2/3 C balsamic vinegar
  • 4 peeled cloves garlic, smashed
Yep that’s it.  Pour the vinegar in a saucepan and add the smashed cloves of garlic.  Smashing them ensures the flavor and oils locked up in each clove find their way into your sauce.  Bring the vinegar to a boil and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce reduces by one half.  This took about 7 minutes for me.  Keep your eye on this one, and stir it every so often, to make sure it’s not burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan.

I used my garlic-infused balsamic reduction to top one of my favorite dishes:

Caprese salad.  Layers of tomato, mozzarella and basil are only made better topped with salt, pepper, olive oil, and when you’re feeling like Top Chef, balsamic reduction.

One thought on “The Glam Factor

  1. Pingback: Assembling a Summer « a glass of milk

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