If you reduce balsamic vinegar into a syrup, you get balsamic glaze: a luscious condiment for drizzling over savory or sweet dishes. If you haven’t had it, we promise: You’ll be converted.
With its complex flavors—sweet, sour, fruity—at its simplest use it can enhance anything grilled or roasted, including panini and other grilled sandwiches. It’s also called creme balsamica (balsamic cream).
While its origin is in Greek and Italian cuisines, it works with everything from French baked Brie to good old American fried chicken, roasts, chops and grilled fish.
Use it for marinating, dressing, or finishing any dish. Drizzle it over grilled meats, fish, and poultry. Serve with aged cheeses like parmesan or fresh ones like creamy goat. It’s a delicious surprise over fruits like strawberries or (our personal favorite) figs wrapped in prosciutto.
USES FOR BALSAMIC GLAZE
AS A CONDIMENT
Glaze meats—ham/pork, lamb, duck or other poultry—by mixing balsamic glaze with preserves (blackberry, currant)
Mix with mustard instead of honey mustard
Dress a caprese salad when tomatoes aren’t at peak (it adds sweetness)
Glaze vegetables (especially root vegetables)
WITH APPETIZERS & FIRST COURSES
Baked Brie (with or without other toppings)
Glazed goat cheese tart or goat cheese cheesecake (sweet or savory)
Salads: bitter greens (arugula, endive, radicchio, radishes, watercress), with or without quartered figs and crumbled goat cheese
Pizza with caramelized onions and smoked gouda; fig and proscuitto
Glazed pork ribs (try a spicy dry rub)
Glazed flat iron steak
White fish or salmon
Use the glaze anywhere you’d use honey as a glaze or seasoning; and with more sophisticated sauces, such as port sauce over beef.
Stir into cranberry sauce
Glaze onions or brussels sprouts
Sautéed greens and other cooked vegetables
Angel cake, cheese cake, pound cake
Ice Cream and sorbet
Cheese, from fresh cheeses to the oldest Parmesans
Fresh, grilled or poached fruit: berries, pears, stone fruit, etc.
RECIPE #1: BALSAMIC GLAZE
It’s easy to make balsamic glaze, and a good idea if you find yourself with too much balsamic on hand. But don’t go out and buy a gallon of the cheapest stuff at a club store. Get something moderately priced: Output = input. Recipe below.
But buying it is a time saver.
This recipe makes enough for quite some time. If you want just enough for your current recipe, use the proportions in the brackets
1 bottle balsamic vinegar [1/2 cup balsamic]
1/4 cup brown sugar* [1 tablespoon brown sugar]
1. MIX the balsamic vinegar with the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved.
2. BRING to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the glaze is reduced by half, about 20 minutes. The glaze should coat the back of a spoon.
3. COOL and pour into a lidded ja. Store in the fridge.
 Use balsamic glaze on bitter greens (photo courtesy A Couple Cooks).  Glaze your pizza (photo courtesy For The Love Of Cooking).  Whether grilled simply or in a casserole, chicken and balsamic are a match made in heaven (here’s the recipe from Cafe Delites).  Salmon and other sturdy fish love a balsamic glaze (here’s the recipe from Cooking Classy).  Pork roast with balsamic strawberries (here’s the recipe from Southern Living).
*You can substitute agave for lower glycemic; or honey if you prefer it. For a lighter version, substitute apple juice.
RECIPE #2: BALSAMIC GLAZE NACHOS
We love this take on nachos from Half Baked Harvest (photo #5, below).
Toasted baguette slices substitute for corn chips, tomato and basil for the salsa, mozzarella for the jack or cheddar cheese.
Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 10 minutes.