I distinctly remember the first time I heard of a balsamic reduction. It was years ago while watching Giada on the Food Network. It sounded so fancy and complicated, but I quickly learned that it was just fancy, not complicated.
Reduced balsamic vinegar or a balsamic glaze is one of my favorite sauces. It is the perfect versatile, tart and sweet topping. From adding a bit of sweetness to flatbreads to adding a hint of tart depth to strawberry ice cream, the possibilities are endless. On the savory side, balsamic reductions are great for topping off salads, tossing vegetables for roasting, glazing grilled tofu, or garnishing soups. On the sweet side, it works great with fruit, yogurt, and even ice cream.
The best part is how easy it is to reduce balsamic vinegar. It only requires only one ingredient and no special equipment, and the entire process takes less than 20 minutes!
Here I used my freshly reduced balsamic vinegar as a finishing touch to Caprese bruschetta made with homemade mozzarella cheese.
To make the reduction, I poured balsamic vinegar into a low saucepan (with tons of surface area) and turned the stove to medium heat. Stirring every few minutes, I waited for excess liquid to evaporate until I reached my desired consistency, a thick syrup.
That is all it takes to reduce balsamic vinegar into a balsamic syrup! If you simmer for a few minutes longer, the syrup will thicken a bit more into a glaze consistency.
For a bit more variety, you can even add another flavor to infuse into the vinegar reduction as it simmers, such as orange zest, honey, maple syrup, raspberries, or thyme.
While the balsamic vinegar simmered on the stovetop, I prepared the Caprese bruschetta in five quick steps:
- Slice and toast baguette slices.
- Slice a tomato.
- Slice fresh mozzarella cheese.
- Chop fresh basil leaves.
- Stack all the ingredients in steps 1-4.
By the time the bruschetta were fully assembled, the balsamic reduction was ready.
Now, for the final garnish. I generously drizzled the newly reduced balsamic vinegar over the Caprese bruschetta as a finishing touch. We loved the result and the bruschetta was quickly devoured.
After lunch, we couldn’t resist licking the pot clean. The balsamic reduction is just that good.
I hope you give this simple reduced balsamic vinegar a try, and I look forward to hearing how it goes for you.
P.S. If you are interested in other quick and crunchy bites, check out these Marjoram Pea Pesto Crostini with Fresh Ricotta.
P.S.S. Those with keen eyes will notice that I served these Caprese Bruschetta with Balsamic Reduction as an appetizer to Hearty Black Bean Pasta with Marinara. You can see the bowls of pasta pictured in the background in the photo above.
Items used in this post:
- Stirring spoon
- Cutting board
- Bread knife
- Chef’s knife
- Toaster, pan, grill, or baking sheet + oven
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
Pour balsamic vinegar into a saucepan.
Turned the stove to medium heat to bring to a boil.
Then, reduce to a simmer while stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes.
Once balsamic reduction reaches a syrup consistency, completely remove from heat.
Note, keep an eye on the balsamic since it can burn quickly.
The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.
If reduced too long, the reduction may harden. Add a bit of water to thin it back down if needed.
- 1 baguette
- 2 heirloom tomato large
- 2 ball fresh mozzarella cheese
- 2 sprig fresh basil
- 1/4 cup balsamic reduction
Slice baguette slices to roughly 1/2 inch thick.
Toast baguette slices until golden brown.
Slice tomato into roughly 1/2 inch thick slices.
Slice mozzarella cheese into 1/2 inch thick rounds.
Chop fresh basil leaves.
Assemble each caprese bruschetta with toasted baguette on bottom. Add tomato slice to baguette, then mozzarella on top of the tomato.
Sprinkle basil leaves on all bruschetta.
Finish off with a drizzled garnish of balsamic reduction.