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Balsamico! Balsamico!
A Balsamic Vinegar Cookbook
by Pamela Sheldon Johns
Ten Speed Press,
February 1999
Hardcover - 111 pages

In recent years, balsamic vinegar, or aceto balsamico, as it's known in Italy, has become the gem of the pantry, claiming its rightful place among some of the world's most prized ingredients. What was once the coveted dowry or inheritance of Italian nobility, is now a widely acclaimed flavoring available at markets and specialty shops the world over. In Balsamico!, cooking instructor and award-winning cookbook author Pamela Sheldon Johns chronicles the vinegar's transformation from "elixir of kings" to today's most popular flavoring and entices us with over 50 original recipes that reveal the extraordinary versatility characteristic of balsamico.

Journey to the romantic Italian towns of Modena and Reggio Emilia to discover the complex and secretive heritage of balsamic vinegar-making, a traditional craft practiced for centuries in the cool, open-air attics of Italian country estates and villas. As you learn about the art and science of the process, including how it is aged and nurtured for several decades by generations of dedicated artisans, you'll also find in-depth advice on selecting both commercial and fine, traditional balsamic vinegars.

Aceto balsamico, with its sweet, pungent aroma and flavor, lends a savory fullness to nearly every dish, from salads to desserts. This timeless, irresistible collection includes:

  • Roasted Asparagus Drizzled with Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale
  • Pumpkin Gnocchi in Aceto Balsamico Cream Sauce
  • Pork Roasted with Apples, Honey, and Balsamico
  • Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Cherry-Balsamico Topping
With evocative photographs of the traditional vinegar-making process, as well as tantalizing photography of the many inspired recipes, Balsamico! presents a delightful tribute to one of Italy's signature ingredients.
Four Seasons Frittata FROM THE BOOK
Four Seasons Frittata

Vegetables representing each season embellish this beautiful egg dish: sweet red pepper for summer, mushrooms for fall, asparagus for spring, and potato for winter.

6 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
5 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded, deribbed, and sliced 1/4-inch thick crosswise slices
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 teaspoons Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F
  • In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  • In a medium ovenproof saute pan or skillet, heat the oil and saute the onion until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until they are softened and the liquid has evaporated. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Pour the egg mixture into the hot pan and cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it just begins to set.
  • Arrange each kind of vegetable in one of 4 quadrants on top of the eggs. Sprinkle the Parmigiano-Reggiano on top and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Drizzle with the aceto balsamico. Serve immediately or let cool to room temperature. Serves 4

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