If you have only ever bought balsamic vinegar from your supermarket and think you know what a good one tastes like – forget it! This balsamic comes from Modena and is made by agriturismo San Polo using only organic lambrusco grapes, then aged in ash casks for 5 years. If you want to know more go to emiliadelizia.com
Be adventurous with how you use your balsamic. This one is so beautiful on the palate that you could almost drink it! It has a fabulous taste almost a cross between honey and a velvety sherry. Stunning! The aroma has no sharpness or acid notes.
I have used it so far in a number of ways.
The first thing I made was an aubergine side dish that is an ideal accompaniment to all meats or fish dishes. Great too on its own cold.
Warm Aubergine Salad in Balsamic Vinegar
Cube an aubergine and pan fry it lightly in olive oil. You may need to add a little more oil early on with the aubergines. As it browns add a finely chopped clove of garlic, a deseeded chopped fresh red chilli and a handful of san marzano tomatoes – or any good baby toms will do. Continue to stir and as the tomatoes begin to soften add a handful of any mushrooms of your choice, quartered – I used chestnut mushrooms this time. Add a little sea salt and a grind of black pepper.
After about 20 minutes on a low to medium heat add a good splash of the balsamic vinegar – about two tablespoons. Bring the heat up and once it begins to bubble,, turn the heat right down low and leave for about another 20 minutes. The resulting dish is a marvellous combination of flavours enriched by the balsamic vinegar and, served warm, it is one of the best vegetable dishes there can be! Crusty bread is essential to mop up any of the unctuous juices!
I have also used this product to enliven one of my favourite greens – park choi. Once you have separated all the leaves, add to an oiled wok and after a couple of minutes add a tablespoon of the balsamic and toss gently. Magical!
And it is simply divine with pan fried fruit! The other night I pan fried pears and nectaries, halved in butter and little brown sugar. After 15 minutes I drizzled each one with balsamic and left it for half an hour to marinate over a warm heat. The vinegar lifts out all the flavours and intensifies them wonderfully. All you need to serve them is a little mascarpone or crème fraîche.