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
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.