Given that you could be reading this from anywhere in the world, the chances are that you’re not from Modena, Italy, and might not know much about its star product: balsamic vinegar. Don’t worry: we’re here to tell you how to make the most of this barrel-aged vinegar made by fermenting the thick syrup formed after cooking grape must.
The best way to start is simply to drizzle it over some vegetables, meat (it works wonders with beef and duck) or a mixed-leaf salad. Remember the right order in salads—first the salt, then the vinegar and finally the olive oil—or else you won’t get the same result. Add it to hot dishes at the very end to make sure you lose none of its wonderful aromas in the cooking process.
But don’t stop there! Try your hand at making a vinaigrette with one part olive oil, one part balsamic vinegar and one part Dijon mustard: it’s delicious with smoked fish such as trout or salmon. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, feel free to add some honey as well.