I have always loved the combination of sweet, savory and salty. Sweet and savory can't go hand in hand without salt. Salt bridges the two together to create some pretty incredible flavors.
I especially love combining figs and balsamic vinegar to make a glaze. The results of pairing these two ingredients are amazing and have multiple applications.
You can use this glaze on all types of protein including chicken, pork and fish. It also works great with vegetables. There are no limits to what you can do it. In fact you can even pour it over strawberries and/or ice cream. Give it a try sometime! Strawberries and ice cream drizzled with the Cream of Balsamic we carry at The Chopping Block is also pretty tasty.
To help make the balsamic vinegar sing, you are going to need figs. Figs became prevalent in North America when Spanish Franciscans first explored the new world. Since they couldn't readily get figs, they decided to grow their own. They created their own style of figs, and, and named them the “Mission” Fig.
The procedure is really simple and requires no more than a couple of knife cuts, whisking, monitoring your heat, and blending. This will take up to about 30-40 minutes depending on high you have your heat. If your heat is too high, you could seriously burn your efforts, as well as leave you scrubbing a sauce pan for a while. So, take your time!
Fig and Balsamic Glaze
3/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
3/4 cup Vegetable stock*
1/2 cup Figs, quartered
1/4 cup Honey***
1/4 teaspoon Orange zest, optional**
*Depending on what you are using the glaze for, you could easily add chicken stock if you were to use it with roasted chicken.
**While this is optional, another item should be add to balance the flavor. If zest isn't available, ground up nutmeg or even garlic will work really well. Just remember to add only a teaspoon or less because as the glaze reduces, the flavors in it become more concentrated. For example, if you add two tablespoons of salt to a stock at the beginning of cooking it, by the time the stock is done, it will end up tasting like you added a half cup of salt.
***If you are a vegan or vegetarian, or your diet prevents you from eating honey, you can replace it with Agave Nectar.
- In a medium saucepan, add the balsamic vinegar, stock and honey. While whisking, bring the mixture to a high simmer. Boiling is not advised, as the bottom could burn.
- Add the figs to the saucepan and continue simmering. Remember to watch your heat. As the glaze reduces, it will eventually boil if you do not adjust your temperature settings accordingly.
- After the glaze has reduced to half (we’re looking for a syrupy consistency), remove half of the figs with a spider and set them aside.
- Turn off the heat and pour the mixture into your favorite food processor or Vitamix and blend until it is puréed. The mixture is going to be really hot, so be careful.
- Once it's puréed, put the figs back into the glaze and season with salt and pepper.
Now that you have an amazing glaze, you are ready to add a new level of flavor to your favorite proteins or vegetables.
The glaze really shines over roasted food because have many different flavors, as well as a variety of great textures. To learn more about how to make a pan sauce (and other sauces) and better hone your skills, check out our Boot Camp cooking classes.