Get it? NOMday? From Monday? Yeah, I know….
So I was thinking this morning, as I began planning out another bi-monthly shopping trip for groceries, about one of my favorite (and Nick’s not so favorite) condiments, balsamic vinegar! A lot of people are familiar with Modena style, which is a reproduction of the originals from Italy, and can be commonly found just about anywhere. I headed over to ye olde wiki for more information on this delightful, tangy, sweet and pungent flavoring.
There are only two ‘real’ styles of balsamic vinegar, detailed and protected by Italian and international law, Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena" (Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena) and "Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia" (Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Reggio Emilia). They begin with a reduction using their specified type of grape juice, and must then be aged for at least 12 years. What a wait! Bottles of this traditional style run to hundreds of American dollars!
The more familiar version, that of Modena, is commercial grade and available for very economical rates everywhere. The production of this wine vinegar is not aged, and emulates the flavors of the traditional by adding caramel and perhaps some natural thickeners. Be that as it may, it’s still a flavor I love, and I will take what I can get!
I’ve found it a great flavor to add to a lot of dishes, and I’m finding it a frequent ingredient in my recipe experiments from myrecipes.com. From there I learned to add it to commercial jarred spaghetti sauce to enhance the flavor and give it a more homemade taste! I prefer it as a marinade for steak and fish, and for grilled fish like salmon, it makes a superb sauce when reduced with a little fresh garlic and honey.
I love this versatile, interesting flavor! What’s your favorite?