Traditional balsamic vinegar recipes using this ancient elixir



I gathered below a selection of my favourite balsamic vinegar recipes.

But remember that you can use Traditional Balsamic Vinegar to deepen and sofisticate the flavours of most simple dishes, with just a few drops at the end.

There is only one rule: add Traditional Balsamic Vinegar raw at the end.

After eating any of the dishes below you will appreciate the true value of this exceptional product.

You can try these recipes with basic balsamic vinegar from a supermarket, but results will be just a fraction of what you can achieve using Traditional Balsamic Vinegar aged at least 12years.

I also gathered a few recipes for balsamic vinegar sauces that you can use in every dish.


Balsamic Vinegar Recipes for ANTIPASTI




MODENESE APPETIZERS


Ingredients:

Splinters of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar


Preparation:

There’s a wonderful tradition in Modena; before sitting down to dinner with friends or while waiting for guests to arrive, along with the usual titbits offered with an aperitif, we often serve splinters or dainty chunks of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese alongside a little bowl of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar.

You dip the cheese in the vinegar and savour it slowly; this brings out the full flavour and aroma of a vinegar that has been properly matured – if you are lucky - in your own vinegar loft.

It is a kind of good-natured rivalry between friends, allowing you to savour first of all one of the most delicious cheeses of this area, Parmigiano Reggiano, and then to sample a good vinegar, ad as we know, your own is always better than anyone else’s (something we never openly declare but deep down, naturally believe).

As for quantities, it depends on how many guests you have. Serve these appetizers with aperitifs as they are the ideal opportunity for introducing your guests to a good Traditional Balsamic Vinegar: I guarantee they will be a big hit with your friends.





PARMESAN ICE CREAM WITH PEARS, RYE BREAD AND TRADITIONAL BALSAMIC VINEGAR OF MODENA


Ingredients for 6:

220 g. of fresh cream

70 g. of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

30 g. of sugar

Salt to taste

2-3 pears, thinly sliced

Sliced rye bread

1 tablespoon approx. of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena


Preparation:

Place the cream, sugar, parmesan cheese and a pinch of salt in a bain marie and, stirring very slowly over a low flame, bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and pass the mixture through a fine sieve.

Leave to cool, At this point you could use an ice cream maker, but you can also get good results by placing one or two tablespoons of the mixture in small paper cases (those used for small patisserie) placed on a tray in the freezer.

You will end up with small, uniform sized scoops of parmesan ice cream. If you like, you can even make the ice cream a day or two in advance.

Prepare individual plates for guests, arranging the peeled sliced pear in a fan shape, with scoop of parmesan ice cream in the centre decorated with a few drops of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena and the sliced rye bread.

This unusual, easy to make hors d’oeuvre lends an added touch of refinement to any dinner a hostess might prepare for her guests. It is best served on individual plates adding, if you like, a few green or black grapes. Any ice cream not used can be placed in a polythene bag and kept in the freezer for another occasion.





Balsamic Vinegar Recipes with PASTA and RISOTTO




RISOTTO WITH TRADITIONAL BALSAMIC VINEGAR


Ingredients for 6:

400 g. of Italian risotto rice, Carnaroli if possible

60 g. of butter

1 onion

1 litre approx. of meat stock (or a stock cube)

80 g. approx. of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

1 glass of dry white wine

2 or 3 tablespoons of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar


Preparation:

Place the finely sliced onion in a saucepan with a knob of butter and four tablespoons of water, Put the lid on and sweat the onion. Once it has softened, add the rice followed by the white wine and simmer until the wine has evaporated off.

Continue cooking, gradually adding ladlefuls of boiling stock to the rice as it is absorbed. When the rice is cooked, after around 15 minutes, remove from the heat and stir in the remaining butter and grated Parmigiano Reggiano plus 2 tablespoons of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar.

Allow to rest in the saucepan for a few minutes before serving in individual plates, garnished with a few drops of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar which will release its full, rich aroma as it comes into contact with the hot rice.

This is a simple recipe and the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar gives the risotto a wonderful flavour. You can also try it with pumpkin for equally delicious results, guaranteed. The few drops of vinegar added to individual plates a final flourish make the dish truly wonderful.





Balsamic Vinegar Recipes with CHICKEN




CHICKEN WITH TRADITIONAL BALSAMIC VINEGAR


Ingredients for 8:

1 free range premium quality chicken

1 carrot

1 onion

1 stalk of celery

1 stock cube

Salt and pepper

1 can of tuna fish in oil, approx. 170 g.

A handful of capers in vinegar

4 anchovies in oil

2 or 3 tablespoons of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

Extra virgin olive oil as required


Preparation:

Place the carrot, celery, onion and stock cube in a large pot with approx. 2 litres of water and bring to the boil. As soon as the water boils, add the cleaned chicken. Cover and simmer.

When the chicken is cooked, remove from the stock, allow it to cool and cur the meat into small pieces (but not too small). Discard the skin.

Place the chicken in a bowl and in the meantime prepare a sauce with the help of a food processor: blend together the drained tuna fish, drained capers, anchovies and olive oil. Blend until you end up with a soft, runny sauce: as for the consistency, you will have to judge how much oil to use so that the sauce is neither too stiff nor too runny.

Finally, add the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, which will lend a subtle hazelnut colour. Stir the sauce gently into the chopped chicken and store it in a container, preferably glass, with an airtight lid or sealed with cling film, and keep in the refrigerator for at least one or two days, remembering to stir every now and again to ensure the flavour of the sauce coats the chicken well.

This is a very convenient dish. You can prepare it well in advance and if you like, you can add another chicken breast to the broth as it cooks, although do bear in mind that breast will cook more quickly. Serve at room temperature, spread over a serving plate on a bed of rocket or lamb’s lettuce dressed with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

Just before serving, drizzle a few drops of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar on top for a delicious and fragrant decoration then, if in season, add a touch of colour by sprinkling on a few pomegranate seeds.

When you make the sauce in the food processor, be sparing with the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar or the final result will be cloying; it is much better to add a few extra drops when serving since it adds a wonderful finishing touch and the aroma lends added refinement to the dish.

Do remember when cutting the chicken not to chop it too small. Another tip is to keep the filtered stock and use it to make a tasty risotto, for example with Traditional Balsamic Vinegar!





CARPIONATA


Ingredients for 6:

2 breasts of chicken or turkey for cutlets

3 whole eggs

300 g. approx. of breadcrumbs

500 g. of dry white wine

3 tablespoons of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

4 sage leaves

4 bay leaves

2 cloves of garlic

1 shallot

Good quality groundnut oil for frying

50 g, of extra virgin olive oil

Nutmeg, salt and whole peppercorns


Preparation:

Beat the eggs in a bowl with some salt, pepper and nutmeg then place the cutlets of chicken or turkey breast in the eggs and leave for at least an hour.

Next, dress the cutlets with breadcrumbs and fry in groundnut oil, draining thoroughly on kitchen paper to remove excess oil. Place the olive oil in a small pot and fry the garlic, shallot, bay and sage leaves, then add the peppercorns and the white wine.

Simmer slowly for around 30 minutes before adding the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, then remove from the heat. Season with salt, stir again and souse the cutlets with this hot marinade. Leave them to marinade for at least 48 hours, turning every now and again. Serve at room temperature.

This is one of many handy dishes that can be prepares ahead of time, especially in summer. It is important to make small cutlets. This dish is ideal served with a seasonal side salad dressed with olive oil and Traditional Balsamic Vinegar or some steamed potatoes, again dressed with good extra virgin olive oil and Traditional Balsamic Vinegar.





WARM CHICKEN BREAST WITH SALAD, NUTS, CANDIED PEEL AND TRADITIONAL BALSAMIC VINEGAR


Ingredients for 6:

500 g. of chicken breast

50 g. approx. of candied lime

50 g. of currants

50 g. of shelled walnuts

50 g. of toasted pine nuts

50 g. or more of sweet pickled carrots

300 g. or more of washed salad leaves (lamb’s lettuce, frisée, roman)

Olive oil as required

Meat or vegetable stock

Vegetables for stock (onion, celery and carrot)

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena as required

Salt, pepper and a few drops of lemon juice

When in season, pomegranate seeds or red currants


Preparation:

First of all make a meat or vegetable stock then trim any fat off the chicken breast. Heat the stock and as soon as it comes to the boil drop the whole chicken breast into the stock; when the liquid returns to the boil, switch off and leave the meat in the stock until it has completely cooled.

At this point, remove the chicken breast from the stock, bring the latter back to the boil and return the chicken to the stock again, switching off as soon as it boils. This procedure is more difficult to explain than it is to do, and may be done several hours in advance.

Wash the salad leaves and drain them thoroughly.

Using a small, non-stick pan, boil a tablespoon of water with a tablespoon of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar and a teaspoon of sugar for a few minutes until the sauce reduces down slightly, then add the previously boiled carrots, cut into rounds. Stew the carrots for a few minutes and then remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Prepare individual portions, arranging a bed of salad leaves on plates, topped with the roughly chopped walnuts, currants toasted pine nuts, finely chopped candied lime and sweet pickled carrots.

Next make the vinaigrette: put the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, salt, pepper and a few drops of lemon juice in a glass jar and shake vigorously. For convenience’s sake, you can actually do all the above-described steps well in advance.

A few minutes before serving your guests, remove the chicken from the stock and bring the latter to the boil once again. As soon as it boils, put the chicken back in the pot and turn off the heat.

Working quickly with a very sharp knife, and using some tin foil to protect your fingers since the meat will be hot, cut the chicken breast into small slices (crossways, as if it were a salami) and arrange it on top of the plated salads.

Dress with the vinaigrette and garnish with pomegranate seeds or red currants before serving.

This recipe is a modern take on a very old recipe of the Gonzaga family and during the Renaissance it was made using capon breast. I think it is marvellous because it is so unusual, yet the flavours are so well balanced.

The cooking technique is very useful because it allows you to enjoy meat that is cooked but still slightly pink inside. Use just enough stock to cover the chicken breast and no more because if you use too much liquid it will take too long to come to the boil and in the end the dish for a busy hostess since everything can be organized ahead of time.

If you prefer, you can dispense with individual portions and arrange a large bed of salad on a serving plate with the various ingredients and the sliced chicken placed attractively on top. Try it! I guarantee it will impress your guests. The best way to make the vinaigrette is to place all the ingredients in a glass jar with a lid and then shake vigorously to emulsify.





Balsamic Vinegar Recipes with BEEF




BEEF FILLET WITH SHALLOTS AND TRADITIONAL BALSAMIC VINEGAR


Ingredients for 6:

6 good slices of fillet, approx. 100 g, each

50 g. of butter for the sauce

50 g. of butter for pan frying the fillet

3 or 4 shallots

2 tablespoons of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

1 teaspoon of sieved flour


Preparation:

Put the finely chopped shallot, butter, salt, pepper and a few drops of water in a pan and sweat for at least 10 minutes.

When the shallots are well cooked and very soft, add the two tablespoons of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar and the flour blended with one tablespoon of water which, as you know, will thicken the sauce.

Allow to simmer for a few minutes, then turn off the heat and keep warm. Next, place the remaining butter in a clean pan and quickly sauté the fillet until cooked ad desired.

Season with salt and pepper and then arrange on individual plates on top of a pool of hot Traditional Balsamic Vinegar sauce.

This is a simple and tasty way of enjoying fillet. It is something you can always prepare even if you have unexpected guests, and it is guaranteed to impress every time.

I would advise you add a few drops of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar to each slice of fillet at the table.





RAW BEEF FILLET SALAD


Ingredients for 6:

400 g. of beef fillet

2 stalks of celery

150 g. of various salad leaves, washed (endive, rocket, radicchio, lettuce, escarole)

2 tablespoons of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper


Preparation:

Cut the celery into small, fine strips and prepare a vinaigrette with the oil, Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, salt and pepper.

After chilling the piece of fillet in the freezer for at least half an hour, slice it (this way, the meat is firm enough to allow you to cut thin slices).

Wash the salad vegetables, drain them well and arrange on individual plates; place the fillet on top, garnished with the celery. Dress with the vinaigrette.

This is a simple but delicious dish: if you like, add some shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano.





LIVER WITH TRADITIONAL BALSAMIC VINEGAR


Ingredients for 4:

400 g. of calf’s liver cut into fine strips

4 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

200 g. of mixed salad leaves: lamb’s lettuce, escarole, roman, etc.

6 sage leaves

1 handful of toasted pine nuts.


Preparation:

Wash and drain the salad leaves. Divide between the 4 plates, arranging the leaves carefully for an attractive colour composition.

Next, heat the oil in a pan, add the liver and 3 sage leaves. Fry briskly for 4 minutes, stirring constantly, then season with salt and pepper and arrange on top of the salads.

Pour the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar into the pan used to fry the liver, season with salt and pepper, if necessary, and heat briefly.

Garnish each plate with the remaining sage leaves, torn into pieces, and the toasted pine nuts, then pour the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar dressing over the dishes.

Liver is not to everyone’s taste, but this is an unusual and enjoyable version.





Balsamic Vinegar Recipes with PORK




MEATBALLS WITH ZABAIONE AND TRADITIONAL BALSAMIC VINEGAR


Ingredients for meatballs for 6:

300 g. of minced pork

300 g. of minced veal

3 whole eggs

6 tablespoons of grated Parmigiano Reggiano

4 tablespoons of breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper

Nutmeg ad required

Sunflower oil for frying

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena


Preparation:

Mix together the meat, grated cheese, bread, eggs, salt and pepper and form into meatballs of the preferred size, then fry them in the sunflower oil.

After frying, place them in a clean pan with 50 g. of butter.

Meantime, prepare the zabaione by beating the three eggs yolks and sugar together. When the mixture is light and fluffy, begin to add the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar a little at a time.

Spoon the zabaione over the meatballs. Put the pan over a low heat simmer with the lid on for around ten minutes, until a lovely sauce has formed.

Serve piping hot.

This is a classic Modenese dish and this combination of sweet and sharp flavours is not to everyone’s taste: try it at least once and if it goes down well at home you can always make it again.





PORK LOIN WITH TRADITIONAL BALSAMIC VINEGAR


Ingredients for 6:

800 g. of pork loin

3 tablespoons of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

6 sage leaves

1 meat stock cube

5 peppercorns


Preparation:

Having tied the pork loin loosely with butcher’s string, place it in a saucepan with one tablespoon of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, the sage leaves, the crumbled stock cube, two glasses of water and the peppercorns.

Cover the pan with a sheet of tin foil and then the lid. Cook over a very low heat for two hours, without ever taking the lid off.

After two hours, remove the lid and tin foil and season with salt and pepper. You may find that the cooking juices are too runny: if so, remove the meat and thicken the sauce by adding the remaining two teaspoons of vinegar, but only at the end.

Cut the loin into thin slices and spoon a little of the sauce over the meat on the serving plate, putting the remaining sauce in a sauce boat.

You must try this dish: it makes a fantastic second course that can easily be prepared in advance. If you leave it to rest for a few hours the flavour becomes even more intense. I recommend trying the loin because this way, if you let it cool before slicing, you will get beautifully compact, evenly sized slices without any scrappy bits.





Balsamic Vinegar Recipes with FISH




PRAWN TAILS WITH TRADITIONAL BALSAMIC VINEGAR


Ingredients for 6:

Prawn tails

Thinly sliced smoked bacon

Olive oil

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar as required


Preparation:

Remove the black filament from the prawn tails and leave them to soften for at least three hours in orange juice or, if oranges are not in season, lemon juice.

Wrap the prawn tails in a slice of smoked bacon and secure with a toothpick.

When you are ready to serve them, sauté quickly in a pan, preferably non-stick, with a little olive oil.

Remove from the heat as soon as the bacon is browned, lace with a few drops of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar and then serve the prawn tails either as a stand-up appetizer, or in individual plates at the table with a bed of salad – lamb’s lettuce is ideal – dressed with oil, salt and pepper and Traditional Balsamic Vinegar.

This recipe, which may strike you as an odd combination of flavours, is in actual fact perfect from every point of view.

The essential secret with this recipe is to use the minimum amount of oil when cooking, since the smoked bacon is already quite fatty.





Balsamic Vinegar Recipes for BREAKFAST




ONION OMELETTE


Ingredients for 6:

½ kg. of onions

8 whole eggs

6 tablespoons of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

1 tablespoon of breadcrumbs

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar as required

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

A knob of butter


Preparation:

Thinly slice the onions. Sweat them in a saucepan with a knob of butter, two tablespoons of water and one of olive oil. They have to cook for a long time but without browning. Once very soft, season with salt and pepper.

Meantime, beat the whole eggs together with the Parmigiano Reggiano, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper in a bowl.

Drain any liquid from the onions and once they are cool add them to the eggs.

Lightly grease a pan – preferably non-stick – and cook the omelette over a low heat, turning it several times: serve it hot, drizzled with a few drops of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar.

This too is another typical Modenese speciality and no family can resist a hot omelette finished off whit a few drops of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, a culinary classic for born and bred Modenese.





EGGS AND BACON


Ingredients

2 eggs

50 g. of Italian pancetta or bacon, sliced not too thinly

A few drops of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar


Preparation:

Fry the bacon in a pan with a spot of oil.

When it is crispy, add the eggs, trying not to burst the yolks.

When cooked, serve on individual plates with a few drops of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar on the yolk.

This is a traditional old peasant dish. It is very nourishing and the aroma produced by the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar on the hot eggs is truly mouth-watering.

Served with a fresh mixed salad, it makes a delicious, nourishing meal that can be rustled up quickly for unexpected guests.





Balsamic Vinegar Recipes with VEGETABLES




BALSAMIC VINEGAR CAPONATA


Ingredients for 6:

2 medium potatoes

2 long, thin aubergines

2 carrots

200 g, of French beans

2 stalk of celery

1 large or 2 small onions

1 red pepper

Salt, pepper

Groundnut oil for frying

3 rounded tablespoons of sugar

2 tablespoons of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

When is season, a few leaves of basil


Preparation:

Finely dice the vegetables (into “brunoise”) and be careful not to mix them, but keep them all separate.

Having done this, place the groundnut oil in a small but preferably deep saucepan and fry the vegetables in this order: first the potatoes, then the carrots, then the French beans, the celery, the aubergines largely diced but not peeled and, last of all, the onions and peppers.

While before cooking you kept the vegetables separated, as they are fried and drained on kitchen paper, place them all in a large bowl. They should be cooked but not overcooked, because the secret of a good caponata is enduring the vegetables still have a certain “crunch”.

Once you have fried them all (and bear in mind you should not have to add extra oil during cooking since the vegetables have not been dipped in flour and therefore do not soak up any fat), place a preferably non-stick pan (large enough to hold all the vegetables) on the cooker. Bring the vinegar and sugar to the boil and allow to simmer for two or three minutes, then toss the fried vegetables into this dressing, mixing very gently with a wooden spoon in order to avoid reducing them to a mush.

Mix like this for 3 or 4 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.

The caponata can be enjoyed after a day or two along with boiled meat, spread on crusty farmhouse bread hot from the oven, or with cheese for an informal tasty supper dish: when in season, add a few leaves of basil before serving for an even more aromatic flavour.

Tip: before serving the vegetables, drizzle a few drops of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar on top.





MEDITERRANEAN AUBERGINES


Ingredients for 6:

3 large aubergines

3 cloves of garlic

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar as required

Extra virgin olive oil as required

Salt and pepper

3 large pinches of oregano


Preparation:

Slice the aubergines not too finely and cook them over a very hot grill. As they are cooked, place them in a bowl, one on top of another, to cool.

After you have grilled them all, place the now cold aubergines in a plate large enough to accommodate them all in single layer and dress them with a vinaigrette made with the extra virgin olive oil, the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, salt and pepper.

Lastly, add the oregano and the garlic chopped into large pieces, which can be removed before serving. Cover with cling film and refrigerate. Mix every now and again to ensure all the aubergines are coated with the dressing.

Serve at room temperature after removing the garlic, which is not to everyone’s taste.

These are excellent aubergines: as I advised, the garlic should be removed after marinating, but the aroma it gives this dish, along with the oregano, is heavenly.

Serve them as a side dish with griddled, boiled or pan-fried meat.

Together with creamy cheese, they also make a great supper dish.

An easy way to make a vinaigrette is to place all the ingredients in a glass jar an shake vigorously. This produces a creamy, perfect dressing.





Balsamic Vinegar Recipes for DESSERTS




STRAWBERRIES WITH TRADITIONAL BALSAMIC VINEGAR


Ingredients and Preparation:

Wash and place the strawberries in a serving bowl, sprinkle with a little sugar and a tablespoon of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar.

To allow them to adsorb the flavours without bruising them, do not mix with a spoon but simply swirl the bowl with circular movement and then cover with cling film, leaving the strawberries to rest in a cool place.

To savour them at their very best, serve them at the table in individual bowls, laced with a few drops of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar.

This dish is another “standard bearer” of Modenese cuisine! No Modenese family which produces their own balsamic vinegar, perhaps in a long-established vinegar loft, can possibly resist the temptation of bringing out their best aged vinegar to enjoy it on strawberries.

Try them yourself with good Traditional Balsamic Vinegar; you’ll see just how irresistible they are.





ICE CREAM WITH TRADITIONAL BALSAMIC VINEGAR


Ingredients and Preparation:

Buy some good quality dairy ice cream, either plain or better still hazelnut, and serve it drizzled with a few drops of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar. It truly is a wonderful dessert.

It may strike you as a peculiar recipe, but it is a real speciality.





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