Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Kalyn's Kitchen Picks: Fini Balsamic Vinegar

Fini Balsamic VinegarI was surprised recently when I realized I'd never featured Fini Balsamic Vinegar for Kalyn's Kitchen Picks, because I've been using it as long as I can remember, and it's been listed on my ingredient sources for ages. I can vividly remember the first time I bought this at Williams-Sonoma, back in the days when every Italian restaurant in the United States was apparently required to offer bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. In those days I had no idea that there were different grades of balsamic vinegar, or that this brand was actually a condiment, not an authentic tradizionale balsamico. Now I know, and I don't really care, I still love the taste of this vinegar. (More proof that I'm not a food snob, in case you needed it! And if anyone is wondering, Fini has never given me any vinegar and is not paying me anything for writing about their vinegar.)

Actually, I usually have at least four different kinds of balsamic vinegar on hand. For recipes like a marinade, where you're using a lot of it, I've actually been pretty satisfied with the Kirkland Signature Balsamic Vinegar de Modena from Costco. (Apparently it's not available online, and the cheaper Costco brand vinegar is garbage, don't buy it.) For salad dressings, or things where I just need a little I use Fini Balsamic Vinegar or sometimes white balsamic vinegar. Of course, if I'm making something really special where I'm just going to drizzle on a tiny bit, I would use the balsamic vinegar I got in the mail from Ilva! Truly balsamic vinegar has to be one of the most useful ingredients a cook can have around, don't you think. Here's a sampling of some of the ways I like to use it. If you've got a favorite recipe you make using balsamic vinegar, or a brand of balsamic vinegar that's your favorite, please let us know in the comments.

Salads with Balsamic Vinegar:
Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Marinated Garbanzo Beans
Cucumber Salad with Balsamic Dressing
Green Bean Salad with Hearts of Palm, Olives, Red Pepper, and Feta
Balsamic Spinach Salad with Mushrooms, Onions, and Feta
Marinated Pepper Salad with Garbanzos and Olives
Tomato, Egg, and Olive Salad with Gorgonzola Vinaigrette
Arugula Salad with Hearts of Palm, Kalamata Olives, and Gorgonzola
Garbanzo Salad with Olives and Herbs
Arugula and Gorgonzola Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Vegetables with Balsamic Vinegar:
Slow Roasted Asparagus
Sauteed Broccoli Rabe with Balsamic Vinegar
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts
Roasted Butternut Squash with Rosemary and Balsamic Vinegar
Roasted Carrots and Turnips with Balsamic and Herbs
Roasted Turnips with Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic Vinegar in Marinades or Sauces:
Pork Chops with Balsamic Glaze
Balsamic and Onion Pot Roast
Grilled Chicken with Balsamic Vinegar
Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms
Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Olive and Caper Sauce
Roasted Salmon with Balsamic Sauce

Other Bloggers Like Balsamic Vinegar Too!
(Recipes from other blogs may or may not be South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients.)
Cipolline Onions with Proscuitto and Balsamic Vinegar from Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once
Ricotta Marscapone Mousse with Balsamic Strawberries from Simply Recipes
Braised Leeks with Hazelnuts and Balsamic Vinegar from Lucullian Delights
Fennel Cherry Tomato Tartlets on Balsamic Crust from La Tartine Gourmande
Simple Balsamic Glazed Halibut from Christine Cooks
Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Vinegar from A Veggie Venture
Balsamic Fudge Drops from Habeus Brulee
Michel Richard's Collard Greens and Lentils from The Wednesday Chef
Parsley Polenta with Balsamic Tomatoes from Technicolor Kitchen
Sauteed Kale with Shitake, Balsamic, and Truffle Oil from Tigers and Strawberriescounter customizable free hit

16 comments:

  1. Isn't the difference between the condiment and tradizionale versions astonishing (both in taste and in price!!). I agree that you need some of the condiment version for reductions and dressings - the insanely expensive tradizionale is just a waste for that!

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  2. This is one ingredient that I enjoy so much but don't cook with/use often enough. Thanks for the great post and all the links!

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  3. I cook a duck breast (magret de canard) mostly on the skin side and deglaze the frying pan with a mix of balsamic vinegar, honey, soy sauce and spices. Sounds a bit weird, but it works!

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  4. I was lucky enough to find a stalk of brussel sprouts at the market on Sunday and remembered you had recently posted a recipe which I thought I would refer to for cooking temperature and time (just wanting plain roasted sprouts) well I tossed them with the oil and Fini balsamic as directed in the recipe and they came out fantastic even without the parm and pine nuts. Yum!! Thanks for sharing the ideas

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  5. I love to slice some brussels sprouts and brown them up in a mix of olive oil and butter with salt and pepper, then drizzle with balsamic and sprinkle with parmesan just before serving - they get so incredibly sweet.

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  6. I will have to try this brand. My brother brought me a couple bottles from Italy that are really good, but I am running low!

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  7. I love balsamic vinegar. And I have a few very special bottles of very old stuff that I only take out for very special people.

    When are you coming to visit? xx

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  8. I do have this one in our pantry. Never really thought too much about which I use for what. Guess I should pay more attention.
    Ummm yes Ilva's balsamic.

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  9. Kalyn - we use an aged balsamic (7 y/o) that we bought in the market in Florence. It is thick and delicious. It is aceto balsamic de modena by Mussini.

    One of my favourite things is balsamic drizzled over fresh, ripe strawberries.

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  10. This is the kind I buy too, I am a sucker for that little bottle.

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  11. How fun to see that so many people besides me are interested in balsamic vinegar. And I know that many of you have much finer vinegar than this humble little favorite of mine, so I appreciate people indulging me in my love of this humble brand.

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  12. I'm a huge fan of balsamic vinegar, too, Kalyn. And love the suggestions you give here, tks for adding one of my recipes, sweetie!

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  13. I rarely used vinegar until I discovered balsamic. I still use it but also am exploring the wide range of vinegars and other souring ingredients from South East Asia and India. It is amazing the variety.

    Here, you can also buy a sweet balsamic, which is a wonderfully thick, sticky and sweet balsamic "sauce" that I love with cheese.

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  14. I absolutely love balsamic vinegar! It's really good not only for dressings but also for somany cooked recipes. Here in Portugal, we have several good balsamic vinegars but I'm afraid I've never tried this one of yours.

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  15. There are so many choices for balsamic vinegar..it is hard to choose. Thanks for the post amd the insight.

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  16. Thanks for this information. I've always wanted to try Fini but wasn't sure if it was worth the price. I'm heading out to get a bottle now.

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Thanks for joining the conversation! I love hearing from readers and even though I can't always reply to every comment, I will always answer specific questions on a recipe as soon as possible.

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