Its unique and unparalleled flavour, intense and complex scent, characteristic colour and perfectly balanced acidity make it a product that is beloved by every palate. Its extraordinary versatility has also encouraged it to spread across kitchens with very varied and distant traditions from Europe to Asia. Just one spoonful is enough to give that touch of vivacity and Italian-ness that every dish needs (even the international cuisines).
The ideal gastronomic journey consists of three courses, a starter, main course and dessert, and in this short guide, you will discover three recipes which represent international cuisines that are enriched by the balsamic vinegar of Modena. Each of these dishes combines the innovative spirit of modern cuisine with the great Italian tradition.
Gazpacho with a Balsamic Twist
Gazpacho is a cold soup which has a base of raw vegetables that are typical of Spanish cuisine, originating in particular from Andalusia. The recipe is quite simple and easy-to-follow, although it does require a few hours to rest and cool in the fridge. Ideal as a summer appetiser, it can be even tastier with a dash of balsamic vinegar.
To start, blanch and peel four tomatoes and cut a cucumber lengthwise and remove the seeds. These first two ingredients should then be roughly chopped and pureed in a blender with a few glasses of cold water. Then, chop a red pepper into pieces, finely chop an onion and garlic, add these to the tomatoes and cucumber and combine. The mixture must then be sieved to obtain a smooth and velvety consistency before mixing in the breadcrumbs to give an extra crunch. Finally, add the finishing touch with two or three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and one or two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar of Modena. Mix well and leave to cool for a couple of hours in the refrigerator. Serve with croutons of bread and spring onion for decoration.
Sweet and Sour Pork with Balsamic Vinegar
The recipes based on sweet and sour sauce may be typical of traditional Chinese cuisine but have spread far beyond, undergoing quite significant changes to meet the demands of Western palates. For this dish, however, the base is the simplest and oldest, which involves the use of another sweet and sour sauce, in this case, an Italian classic: balsamic vinegar of Modena.
First, cut the pork fillet into chunks, toss it in rice flour and season with salt and pepper. Cook the meat in a non-stick pan over a high heat with a little oil, then mix with a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to finish cooking and let it rest. Meanwhile, in the same pan, cook the cubed pineapple, the previously blanched broccoli and coarsely chopped onion, add more balsamic vinegar and let it reduce along with the sugars of the fruit until you get a sauce that is the right consistency. Then combine with the pork and serve!
Crumpet with Raspberry Compote with Balsamic Vinegar
Crumpets have strong Anglo-Saxon roots and are well-known as a traditional British food. These tasty “focaccine” have a taste that isn’t too sweet and is similar in many ways to pancakes but smaller and thicker due to the rising process. Although, they might be an ideal brunch staple, they could also be an exceptional dessert.
To make the crumpets, heat the milk, bring it almost to the boil and then, let it cool slightly. In a bowl, mix flour, a teaspoon of sugar, a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of baking soda and dehydrated beer yeast. Slowly pour the milk into the dry ingredients, adding a glass of hot water and stirring with a whisk until the mixture is smooth without any lumps and then, leave to rise. While the mixture rises, you can prepare the raspberry compote by pouring a couple of tablespoons of sugar into a non-stick pan and adding the fruit as soon as the sugar starts to brown. Finish with a splash of lemon juice and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar of Modena. Cook the crumpet in a buttered non-stick pan while using a pastry-cutter to give it that characteristic shape and then, serve with butter or fresh spreadable cheese and the balsamic raspberry compote.