Don’t be put off by the intricate instructions here, a balsamic vinegar reduction is one of the simplest things you can make, it keeps forever, is low cal, and you can use it so many ways if you tried to list them all you’d fill up a page. It will be your new best friend, I promise, but there are a few things you need to get right to make it work, so read through the instructions and then fire up your stove.
You don’t need to buy super expensive balsamic vinegar, but it should taste good when you dip a piece of bread in it. If you wouldn’t eat the bread dipped in balsamic, then you’re not going to like the reduction. You also don’t want to see ingredients such as sugar, or caramel coloring, only vinegar and/or grape must. The added ingredients will mess up your reduction.
Some of my fave ways to use a balsamic vinegar reduction are drizzled over fruit such as strawberries or peaches, roasted green beans, roasted asparagus, roasted Brussels sprouts, steak, ripe tomatoes, green salad with extra-virgin olive oil and some salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Pour vinegar into a non-reactive pan such as stainless steel, so that it’s no more than ½ full. The vinegar needs some space to boil without boiling over. Over medium-high heat, bring the vinegar to a slow boil. If you have large bubbles that are bursting and splashing vinegar all over your stove, then turn the heat down until you have a boil that’s more like a simmer. Allow to boil until vinegar is reduced by at least half, about 15 minutes. Dip a spoon into the reduction to see how thick it is. It should coat the spoon. You can let it reduce even further for a very thick sauce, but I would recommend trying it first reduced by half and then deciding if you want to make another batch that’s reduced even further, or just put it back on the burner and reduce it further. After 15 minutes on the burner start to watch it carefully. As it gets thicker, it will be in danger of burning. As it cools, it will thicken a bit more.