In our olive oil & balsamic vinegar preparation section you’ll find simple instructions on how to create the perfect vinaigrette, marinade, or balsamic reduction. Most importantly, experiment and have fun!
Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar-Vinaigrettes-Reductions-Marinades
So many of our customers want to know what olive oils and balsamic vinegars work “BEST” for a salad. Well the honest answer is that they all do! It’s really a matter of sampling and finding a flavor profile that you enjoy. Once you pick either a balsamic vinegar or olive oil we can work on a pairing combination to make the perfect vinaigrette. The pairings between our olive oils and balsamic vinegars are infinite, so you really can’t go wrong. Keep in mind all of our Ultra Premium EVOO’s will pair with all of our barrel aged Italian balsamic vinegars and all of our pure authentic barrel aged Italian balsamic vinegars will pair with all of our olive oils!
VINAIGRETTE PREPARATION: Combine 2 parts olive oil with 1 part balsamic, where 1 part is a tablespoon. Whisk together and dress your salad. Adjust the ratio to your satisfaction. What you put in the salad is totally up to you, as there are no rules! Keep in mind that oil and vinegar will not stay together for more than a few minutes so if you want to create an emulsification we recommend whisking in 1tsp of light mayo or Dijon mustard into the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. We typically make our dressing fresh and factor 1-2tbs per salad.
Our olive oils and barrel aged Italian balsamic vinegars are perfect for marinades for any land based protein including poultry, pork, beef, & wild game. As with vinaigrettes the combination possibilities are infinite! A few of our favorites are listed below but again its completely up to you and the flavor profile you are trying to achieve.
MARINADE PREPARATION: Whisk together equal parts olive oil and balsamic and and pour into a ziplock bag. Add protein and seal bag trying to remove as much air as possible. Refrigerate 6 hours to overnight. If working with a dense protein such as a flank steak we typically stab the protein with a fork prior to adding the marinade. Another trick with a dense protein is to increase the balsamic vinegar to olive oil ratio (2:1), as the extra acidity will help tenderize the protein. VOLUME: How much do you need? It depends but on average you most likely will not need more than a quarter to half a cup total. The protein does not need to swim in the marinade but rather just coat the protein. One trick we like to use is to let the protein come to room temperature in the marinade just prior to cooking. Room temperature allows the marinade to penetrate the pores of the protein one final time.
EVOO MARKETPLACE FAVORITES: Poultry & Pork-Black Cherry Balsamic + Basil Olive Oil, Sicilian Lemon Balsamic + Tuscan Herb Olive Oil, Raspberry Balsamic + Garlic Olive Oil, Coconut Balsamic + Persian Lime Olive Oil, Cranberry Pear Balsamic + Blood Orange Olive Oil, Honey Ginger Balsamic + Toasted Sesame Oil, Jalapeño Balsamic + Baklouti Green Chili Olive Oil, 18 Year Traditional Balsamic + Tuscan Herb Olive Oil, Serrano Honey Vinegar + Persian Lime Olive Oil……….Beef, Elk, Venison- Espresso Balsamic + Chipotle Olive Oil, Chocolate Balsamic + Chipotle Olive Oil, Fig Balsamic + Wild Mushroom & Sage Olive Oil, 18 Year Traditional Balsamic + Garlic Olive Oil. Lamb- Black Cherry Balsamic + Harissa Olive Oil, Black Cherry Balsamic + Basil Olive Oil. Wild Game-Pheasant/Duck: Raspberry Balsamic + Blood Orange Olive Oil, Raspberry Balsamic + Garlic Olive Oil, Raspberry Balsamic + Tuscan Herb Olive Oil, Black Cherry Balsamic + Tuscan Herb Olive Oil, Black Cherry Balsamic + Basil Olive Oil, Honey Ginger Balsamic + Toasted Sesame Oil.
LAND BASED PROTEINS MARINADE PREPARATION: Whisk together equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar and pour into a ziplock bag. Volume: All depends on the amount of protein but we typically use 1/4 cup total for every 1 lbs of protein. Add protein to ziplock bag and marinate 6 hours to overnight.
CHICKEN STIR FRY: Whisk together 2tbs Sesame Oil & 2tbs Honey Ginger Balsamic, pour into a ziplock bag. Cube up 1-2 lbs chicken breast and add to marinade. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Heat stir fry pan over high heat. Add 1Tbs Sesame Oil and watch until it begins to shimmer. Add marinated chicken and stir fry 5-7 minutes add vegetables and continue stir fry until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Serve with Honey Ginger balsamic infused Basmati rice. Honey Ginger balsamic is also amazing drizzled over steamed rice.
WATER BASED PROTEINS: Our olive oils and balsamic vinegars are perfect for water based proteins such as fish and seafood but as a cautionary note we do not recommend marinating water based proteins with balsamic vinegar as the acidity will damage the delicate protein. Instead we recommend coating the protein with any of our olive oils and letting it sit 20-30 minutes at room temperature. After the protein has been cooked then we recommend using the balsamic vinegar as a finishing step.
EVOO MARKETPLACE FAVORITE: BBQ shrimp is one of our personal favorites. De-shell 1-2 lbs of raw shrimp, wash and pat dry with a paper towel. Toss shrimp in 1-2 tbs of Persian Lime Olive Oil and let sit 20-30 minutes at room temperature. Grill over high heat until thoroughly cooked 5-7 minutes depending on size. Toss cooked shrimp in 1 Tbs Persian Lime Olive Oil & 1 Tbs Coconut Balsamic. We like to serve this with Basmati rice infused with our Coconut balsamic vinegar.
INSPIRATION: For other combination ideas please visit our olive oil and balsamic vinegar combinations page.
Balsamic Vinegar Reduction Method
We hear it all the time-“I want that thick balsamic that drips” or “I want a balsamic glaze” So a few important bits of knowledge before we get to how to create a proper balsamic reduction. EVOO Marketplace offers only authentic Italian balsamic vinegars barrel aged to the Italian standard of at least 12 years with some aged up to 18 years. During the aging process the balsamic vinegar will evaporate in wood barrels approximately ~10% year over year. This evaporation process is what allows the natural sugars from the grapes to condense and the balsamic vinegar to thicken and become sweeter. The acidity will also drop from 6% (12 year balsamic vinegar) to 4% (18 year balsamic vinegar). The Italian balsamic consortium system certifies 12 year (red label), 18 year (silver label), 25 year extra vecchio (gold label) balsamic vinegars. Anything older than the gold label, 25 year extra vecchio traditional balsamic vinegar, technically does not exist on a commercial scale. Yes, some small estates in Italy may have a few drops but on a large commercial scale NO WAY. The marketers have fun with this subject confusing the general public with balsamic age by relating to the age of the wood barrels the grape Must is aged in and not the actual age of the end-product balsamic vinegar. 100 year-old wood barrels do not translate into 100 year-old balsamic vinegar. It’s also important to keep in mind the usage applications of balsamic vinegar of honey consistency drop significantly. At the same time, cost of a 25 year extra vecchio balsamic vinegar increases dramatically, exceeding $250 for a 100ml (~1/4 the size of our 12.7oz bottles), not economical for general consumption. So what is this super thick “balsamic” from Modena, Italy? For the most part it is nothing more than vinegar, sodium, corn syrup, guar gum, corn flour and/or molasses. If you attempt to reduce these impostor balsamic vinegars the awful aftertaste will only become amplified. Italy produces the World’s supply of both authentic and impostor balsamic vinegars so just because the product is produced in Italy does not mean it is authentic. The age of the balsamic is one of the most important indicators. If a supplier cannot confirm that the age is at least 12 years then you are NOT buying authentic balsamic vinegar. A high price is also NOT a confirmation of authenticity! If you are interested in learning more about balsamic vinegar production please feel free to visit our Balsamic Vinegar Buyers Guide page.
BALSAMIC REDUCTION/GLAZE METHOD: Any of our barrel-aged Italian balsamic vinegars can be reduced to a “thick syrup” by heating over medium to medium-high heat. A true balsamic reduction as described below can be used as a glaze for various meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits, or drizzled over your favorite ice cream.
STARTING VOLUME: This will vary based on the application but keep in mind we are going to reduce the starting volume approximately 50% so start with twice the amount needed.
METHOD: For example, lets create a topping for ice cream: add 1/4 cup of your favorite EVOO Marketplace balsamic vinegar to a sauce pan. Heat over medium to medium-high heat ~3-4 minutes with stirring. The balsamic will bubble and foam as the vinegar burns off. The goal here is to reduce the balsamic ~25% and let the cooling process reduce it another 25%. It is important to STOP the heating process once the balsamic vinegars begins to coat the side of the pan. Immediately pour the balsamic in a glass bowl and place the bowl on top of another bowl containing ice. Stir the reduction as it cools.
General Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar Usage Tips & Tricks
HEATING EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL: Don’t be afraid, the Dr Oz myth that you can’t heat pure and fresh EVOO is simply not true as people of the Mediterranean region have been heating olive oil for thousands of years. Our Ultra Premium EVOOs and flavored olive oils will tolerate heat up to ~425F. Why? Let’s refresh our EVOO Chemistry knowledge. Two important EVOO chemistries that contribute to smoke point are Free Fatty Acid (FFA) & Biophenol (antioxidant) content. A low FFA content and high Biophenol content translate into an increased smoke point. Fresh and pure EVOO’s with a FFA of 0.1-0.2% will have an inherent smoke point of ~400F. Combine that with an increasing Biophenol content and the smoke point also increases. The higher the Biophenol content (olive oil robustness) the higher the smoke point. An EVOO with a FFA at 0.1% and a Biophenol level of 500ppm will typically have a smoke point around 420F. With this information in mind please understand that ALL OILS WILL SMOKE and if you walk away from your pan and come back to find a smoking burnt colored oil we recommend to let it cool and throw away. Studies have shown that many big brand so-called extra-virgin olive oils have smoke points between 330F-365F, which is a result of the lack of freshness, purity, and quality of olive at time of harvest. We can stress enough that if an EVOO is not lab tested then the consumer has no idea of what they are buying and consuming.
HEATING APPLICATION: Add 1-2Tbs olive oil to a sauté pan and heat over medium to medium-high heat (we don’t need super high heat). Don’t walk away!! We want to watch the olive oil begin to shimmer and pull away from the center of the pan. Once the oil begins to shimmer add ingredients and sauté.
MAKE YOUR OWN OLIVE OIL SPREAD: Although we do not recommend bulk storage of olive oil in the refrigerator it is OK to pour a small amount in a bowl and refrigerate allowing the olive oil to solidify. Our pure and fresh EVOOs consist of healthy monounsaturated fats so they will never harden like a stick of butter but they will turn into a soft slurry which is easy to spread.
OLIVE OIL & BALSAMIC STORAGE & SHELF LIFE: Store both our olive oils and barrel aged Italian balsamic vinegars at room temperature, away from heat and light. Please do not refrigerate olive oil unless it’s for an extended period of time. Olive oils if placed in a cool environment will enter into a semi-solid state and repeated thawing will cause the olive oil to breakdown quicker. We bottle everything in-house in light protected glass bottles so we recommend that if you decide to pour our olive oils into your own decanter then choose one that is made of a UV protected dark material. SHELF LIFE: Our Ultra-Premium EVOOs and flavored olive oils are so fresh and pure that if stored properly you can expect a shelf life of 18 months to 2 years. Our barrel aged Italian balsamic vinegars are already aged 12 to 18 years so if stored properly they should be good for years.