… from The California Kitchen
How you doin’? I’m doing just great when I get the opportunity to mix and match different ingredients, especially when they are both ancient ingredients. That’s the case in this recipe using Chocolate and Balsamic Vinegar.
The original Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale is made from cooked white Trebbiano grape juice and is not a vinegar in the usual sense. It has been made in Modena and Reggio Emilia since the Middle Ages (as early as 1046). Balsamic vinegar is highly praised and most often used by chefs and food lovers in cooking or straight over the plate.
I most often use Balsamic vinegar for salad dressings and meat marinades together with a little olive oil. For Valentine’s Day I “dreamed” up a wonderful dressing using two of these ancient ingredients. I found the two flavors to be complimentary resulting in one of the most delicious dressings ever tasted for a Caprese Salad. You can put the whole thing together in less than 30 minutes and the results will be winning you praise for many Valentine’s Days to come.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooling Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 2 servings
For the Balsamic Reduction
1 cup balsamic vinegar
For the Chocolate Vinaigrette
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chocolate pastilles or pieces (64% to 70%)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (about 5 turns on a grinder)
1 tablespoon extra-fine granulated sugar
1/3 cup balsamic reduction
For the Caprese Salad:
6 slices large beefsteak tomato, thinly sliced
6 slices fresh mozzarella
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
6 fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons chocolate vinaigrette
For the Balsamic Reduction
To make the Vinaigrette
Assembling the Salad
ChefSecret: An easy way to see if your vinegar has reduced enough is to dip the back of a metal spoon into the vinegar and let it cool for a minute. Then run your finger along the back of the spoon to check its consistency. If the swipe mark holds without running at all then your vinegar is ready. The French say that your sauce has reached the nappé stage.
Covid-19 Quip of the Day: “It’s the first of the month and I thought I was feeling a little sluggish and decided to go to the doctor for a check-up. As he was giving me my physical the doctor said, “Don’t eat anything, fatty.” I said, “Like bacon and burgers?” He said, No FATTY, don’t eat anything! Some people are just cruel!”
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