On our way back we stopped in a gorgeous little town named Fowey (how much do I want a summer place there...), and in a gourmet shop I found a balsamic called Vincotto. Never heard of it, and it being labelled as "similar to the original balsamic", my curiosity got the best of me so of course I had to buy a bottle.
"According to great Italian chefs, vincotto is an elixir - a sweet, velvety vinegar with the subtle overtones of spices, grapes, prunes. As a point of reference, it is frequently stated that vincotto is similar to an authentic balsamic, but the chefs tell us that there is no real comparison."
Yes. It is very tasty.
Yesterday I googled "vincotto recipes" to see what I could find, and found a lot of interesting stuff but nothing that really caught my fancy. So today when I read the Metro and found a recipe for "Summer Ruby Salad" (can't find the original recipe on their web though...) that seemed to fit perfectly, with a few small alterations, I was well happy. Getting a bit tired of the usual old salads I tend to make all the time I found this sweet and sour mix intriguing. Good addition to the repertoire.
Sweet and sour salad with Vincotto dressing (serves 4)
4 tbsp Vincotto, original recipe
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Lyle's Golden Syrup
6 tbsp olive oil (I used Le Trebbiane, yum)
salt and pepper to taste
In parenthesis are the original recipe's ingredients, which i replaced with other stuff. Raspberries instead of water melon to make it less watery, and because I thought the sweet and sour taste of the raspberries would work well. Gem hearts instead of cabbage... ...because I couldn't find red cabbage. Unfortunately I had to leave out the purple flowers, for the same reason, but for presentation they would be beautiful.
1 small jar of cooked beet roots cut in strips
1 red onion, thinly sliced
8 red radishes, cut in quarters
150 gr raspberries (300 gr water melon)
3 gem hearts salad heads (100 gr red cabbage)
20 fresh basil leaves (purple basil leaves)
(40 gr edible purple flowers)
Mix all the ingredients of the dressing in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Put all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and pour the dressing over it. Toss together gently, mind the raspberries. Done. I kept a few raspberries on the side for decoration, since I didn't have any of those edible flowers at hand.
I decided to serve this with hoisin chicken, instead of noodles. Worked well, the sweetness of the dressing mixing well with the hoisin sauce and the beet roots and radishes making the salad filling enough to make it an ok replacement for the noodles.
URL: The Minack Theatre, fantastic outdoor amfitheatre
URL: Eden Project, living theatre of plants and people
URL: The Lost Gardens of Heligan, amazing restored Victorian gardens
URL: Fowey, gorgeous coastal town in the south of Cornwall
URL: Article about Vincotto, cooked grape wine
URL: Vincotto producer's web site