Tasty AccompanimentsPosted: May 14, 2011
Try these tasty accompaniments to add flavor to a variety of dishes: Balsamic Vinegar Reduction and Hot Chili Oil – Both incredibly easy to prepare and very versatile!
Balsamic Vinegar Reduction: Use any amount of basic grocery store balsamic vinegar (I buy the small jug at Trader Joe’s). Simmer over medium heat until the liquid is reduced to about half the amount and the end result is a free-flowing balsamic syrup. Adds great flavor to caprese salad (fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil), sandwiches, roasted chicken and meats, salad dressing, and a variety of other uses where you want to add a little tang! I use a wooden skewer or chop stick as a measuring device (before and during the simmer process) to figure the reduction in liquid to half the amount I start with. It doesn’t matter how much balsamic you start with, the end result is about half that much!
Let it cool – then store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a couple of months or more. Best if it sits out a few minutes before each use to take the chill off and bring out the flavor.
Hot Chili Oil: 2 cups of olive oil and a 1/4-1/2 cup red pepper flakes. Simmer over medium heat until it reaches 180F on a thermometer. Let it cool and strain it into a decorative (or not) bottle. Mine keeps on the countertop in a clear olive oil bottle with pour spout. I use it as a starter for mushrooms and most anything I’m going to saute in a little olive oil. Adds great heat to any dish. (I make mine with 1/2 cup red pepper flakes, but my mother always thought it was hot/spicy enough with 1/4 cup flakes to 2 cups olive oil.) Make yours to your liking – and enjoy!