This post is sponsored by De Nigris Italian vinegars.
What is your go-to ingredient?
Perhaps it is a spice, such as cumin or coriander. How about an herb? Is it thyme, cilantro, or maybe oregano? Is it cream of mushroom soup? Butter? Chicken broth? If it is red wine, please tell so we can be best friends.
I have to think about what is mine. Cumin, maybe. Chicken broth, for sure. Butter, more and more than ever. Dijon mustard, yes that one is creeping up in the ranks. Same thing with balsamic. Ever since I learned about the De Nigris of Modena balsamic vinegars, I definitely can tell you that the more I learn about their fabulous vinegars, the more dishes they are showing up in.
Take tonight for instance.
I had to stop in the middle of meal prep tonight and quickly jot down the courses. I realized over four dishes that each one had balsamic vinegar as a supporting cast member.
Does that borderline on obsessive? Or, is that just utilizing ingredients to their best ability? The latter, of course!
Balsamic vinegar is pretty versatile. I learned from the De Nigris family that any good Italian family will have a cupboard stocked full of balsamic vinegars with varying levels of grape must. That’s the stuff that gives it its depth and character. The lower the grape must concentration, the better suited it is to cold dishes. The higher levels work best with hot dishes. And, aged vinegar or balsamic with at least 65% grape must is perfect for gourmet dishes and desserts.
First course was a medley of organic garden tomatoes that were bursting with flavor. There wasn’t much to do here other than a twist of sea salt and ground pepper and then a drizzle of the White Eagle De Nigris balsamic vinegar of Modena. It has a concentration of at least 25% grape must.
Second course was grilled carrots that rested with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and the Gold Eagle De Nigris balsamic vinegar of Modena. The Gold Eagle has at least 55% grape must. If you have never grilled carrots before, please try it and add it to your summertime grill list.
Third course was a slow cooked chicken breast poached in a broth of Dijon mustard, chicken broth, fresh thyme, sweet onions, and the same Gold Eagle De Nigris balsamic vinegar that I used for the grilled carrots. The Gold Eagle is excellent with hot dishes and the combination with Dijon mustard is a perfect marriage.
The fourth and final course was dessert. I went simple here with some vanilla ice cream drizzled with thePlatinum Eagle De Nigris balsamic vinegar of Modena. The Platinum Eagle has at least 65% grape must. This makes it super thick and drizzling it over ice cream has the look of a chocolate sauce only the balsamic add a savory balance to the sweetness of ice cream. The first time I tried it, my mind was blown.
If you aren’t using balsamic vinegars yet, I suggest you start with a lower grape must (White or Bronze Eagle) for cold dishes and salads and a higher grape must (Silver, Gold, or Platinum Eagle) for hot dishes.
Grilled carrots drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon Gold Eagle De Nigris Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
Peel carrots and leave whole.
Place in a pot and fill with water and boil water until 10 minutes or until a knife can easily slip in the carrots. Be careful not to overcook the carrots.
Remove from water.
Turn on gas grill to medium-high head or get charcoal grill to desired temperature.
Place carrots on grill and rotate to get nice grill marks. Because we pre-cooked via boiling, this grilling process will be only a few minutes.
Remove from heat and place in tin foil to rest. Drizzle with sea salt, pepper, balsamic, and extra olive oil, if desired.
Fold up tin foil and let carrots rest for 5 minutes.