Thursday, January 12, 2012

Aged Balsamic Vinegar Tasting & BBQ Salmon Salad

Favorite question "Would you mind trying our product and then blogging about it?"  Okay, twist a little harder and I'll say "Yes".  House of Balsamic asked this question recently after I tried their products at the 2011 Foodbuzz Festival.  My first taste of the Saporosa 6-year aged Balsamic was on a spoon at the festival and I fell in love. Silky and a bit syrupy, sweet but slightly tart.  I envisioned roasted pears and blue cheese.  (Which ironically I haven't tried it on for real, yet.  I guess the vision was enough.)
The second taste upon seeing the beautiful decanter and packaging was in a spoon just before I dripped it into little pearls with orange and rosemary infused olive oil .  Grilled flatbread replaced the spoon as the vinegar vehicle of choice and had we not run out of bread dough, that would have been our complete dinner.  Even the kids present loved its sweet flavor. 

This perfectly viscous vinegar is not at all like the typical specimen in a supermarket.  The creation of fine aged vinegars is very similar to winemaking.  Aged in wooden casks, it has much more complexity and less overwhelming tartness than typical balsamic.  To get the same effect (but lacking the complex wooden cask-aged flavor) you would have to reduce a 500 ml bottle of grocery store balsamic down to about a quarter cup (and not breathe anywhere in the vicinity--you've tried it, you know what I mean).  When you figure the cost of your time, heat source and the vinegar itself, it makes sense to invest in a fine vinegar.

Treat it like you would treat a good sea salt or special honey.  It's not to be hidden in a salad dressing.  (Keep the $2.99 version for that.)  It is made to shine.  Drizzle it over grilled fish, chicken, roasted vegetables or fruit just before serving.  It's almost calorie-free and is fat-free.  Perfect for the 2012 resolutions, right?

Try the roasted pear and blue cheese combo I mentioned above for a cheese course or...

If you must have a salad, at this point in the Seasonal Produce calendar, you're probably looking at bitter greens and piles of winter squash, right?

So do this:
Roast half moons of squash and cook several strips of bacon til crispy Compose a bed of  radicchio, kale, endive, spinach or other bitter lettuces.  Add some blue cheese or shaved parmesan, the cooked bacon and the bacon fat or olive oil.  Salt lightly and pepper heavily.  Arrange the squash on top and then drizzle with the balsamic.  Sprinkle with a few pumpkin seeds, walnuts or sliced almonds if you have them for a color contrast.  YUM!

As a followup to our grilled bread feast I had leftover orange rosemary oil and the vinegar, so I drizzled it over a BBQ salmon salad. The fingerling potatoes I had from my CSA box absorbed the mixture and stole the show from the salmon, but I found the vinegar really made all the flavors come together.

Bottom line...Invest in your pantry and check out House of Balsamic.   Remember with a well-stocked pantry (Check out The List) and seasonal ingredients, you can actually enjoy Great Meals on a Budget.

Heard of White Balsamic?  I'm working on yummy concoctions using  this fab vinegar, too, from the same company.  So check back soon.

Print Page Copyright 2011 Christi Flaherty, Cook What You've Got


  1. I love balsamic vinegar. Sometimes I want to drink it straight out of the bottle...this looks divine.

  2. @Katie, YES! This particular brand is unreal. Thanks for visiting my site.


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Copyright 2012 TablaVie Personal Chef Service

All photos and recipes may not be used without express permission from Christi Flaherty, owner and creator of Cook What You've Got Concept and blog.
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