Oh hai! Where have you BEEN all summer? 😉 Just kidding, I know I’ve been somewhat sporadic in posting but this has been such a fun-filled rollercoaster-ride of a summer, a “we’re-moving-no-we’re-not” type summer, that I don’t even know where to begin. I’ll explain more after the weekend, but suffice it to say we’re soaking up every last ray of sunshine and splash of the pool before school starts next week. Which has nothing to do with balsamic vinegar, but I digress. Where was I? Right. BALSAMIC VINEGAR, and all the unexpectedly amazing ways to use it from drinks to snacks to desserts to main dishes. OF COURSE.
Why am I obsessed with balsamic vinegar? Last week while strolling in Bar Harbor, Maine we stumbled upon the Fiore Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar tasting room. Well knock me over if we didn’t all fall in love with the oils and balsamics and friendly staff at Fiore! We went around tasting the various selections and choosing favorites. We picked out a few varieties while the staff suggested different ways to try it, inspiring this post. It’s pricey but not outrageous, and I’ve learned a great bottle of balsamic is an easy and versatile way to add flavor to dishes so it was worth the splurge. And no, this is not a sponsored post, just some love for a family owned business that’s doing things RIGHT!
Here’s my kids stuffing their faces with popcorn in front of the Fiore Tasting Room in downtown Bar Harbor. Also note the lobster shirts. WE MAINE SO HARD.
We walked away way many zany and delicious ways to use balsamic vinegar, and some are listed below along with recipes from a few fellow bloggers. In a sea of balsamics, which did we choose? The Maple Balsamic and the Honey Ginger White Balsamic (next on my wish list are the Black Cherry and Vanilla Balsamics when we kick these bottles).
Busy days call for lazy ingredients, and balsamic vinegar is IT– easy and full of flavor! Also, it goes without saying (hopefully…), but when you’re using balsamic as the key ingredient make sure it’s a good one. 🙂
1. Zest up Sangria with some Ginger Balsamic
2. Try it in a cocktail, like these Bellinis (a personal favorite!)
3. Add a few drops to plain seltzer for a zing!
4. Make barbeque sauce where balsamic is the star, such as this Balsamic BBQ Sauce from Plain Chicken.
5. Nowadays you don’t have to settle for your average boring brussels sprouts– try roasting or sauteeing brussels sprouts with balsamic for a wonderful depth of flavor!
6. Drizzle over Caprese Skewers (like these from Lemons and Laughs) for a great appetizer or snack.
7. Speaking of caprese, how about trying it in flatbread form with a balsamic reduction? Craving these Caprese Flatbreads from How Does Your Garden Grow!
8. Use it in a glaze. This Bruschetta with Balsamic Glaze from Souffle Bombay, to be exact.
9. Balsamic glaze on pizza. Yes, I went there! Try this amazing looking Goat Cheese, Apple, and Proscuitto Pizza from An Opera Singer in the Kitchen.
10. Pork is a natural fit with balsamic vinegar, but how about this delicious twist– Strawberry Balsamic Pork Chops from Lemons and Laughs?
11. Kick ice cream up a notch with a fruity flavored balsamic drizzle such as peach, black cherry, or vanilla.
12. Do the same with yogurt! We love greek yogurt with a swirl of maple balsamic on top, but most flavors work well with this depending on your mood.
13. Try it in a Peachy Fruit Salad, yum!
14. Make a relish– an onion relish, like this gem from Courtney’s Sweets.
15. Add flavor to plain brownies in this Blood Orange Brownie recipe.
15. Dress your veggies by roasting them with balsamic. Coat or mist vegetables (asparagus, cauliflower, string beans, carrots, broccoli, etc) with olive oil. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and roast 20-30 minutes in a 400 degree oven, turning once, until done.
16. Balsamic Roasted Fruit: No, seriously, these Balsamic Roasted Cherries from Souffle Bombay look incredible.
17. I simply can’t ignore a great balsamic viniagrette, either. Here’s an Italian Vinaigrette recipe from Courtney’s Sweets (try it over heirloom tomatoes. SO MUCH YUM.)
18. Make them the secret ingredient in your meatballs! Here’s a recipe for Balsamic Mini-Meatballs from Courtney’s Sweets.
19. Glaze salmon with a balsamic reduction; this recipe for Balsamic Glazed Salmon from Cooking Classy looks wonderful!
20. Potatoes! Roast them such as in this Balsamic Roasted Potato recipe from Your Homebased Mom.
Fall is almost here, the perfect time to try out these cozy and tangy balsamic vinegar recipes. I’m asking Santa for a few more bottles of the flavored Fiore balsamic vinegars for Christmas, and expect to be gifting a few as well (hello, Expresso Balsamic!). Have you tried any fancy balsamics? If so, what’s your go-to brand? And what are your favorite ways to use them in recipes?