Menu terms: reduction

Menu terms: reduction

Have you ever had to break out your smartphone in a restaurant to Google a term on a menu? Follow our menu terms series and you’ll get up to speed on the important info you need to be an expert at understanding menus.

A “reduction” is the result of a cooking technique in which a liquid (such as a broth, sauce, soup, etc.) is simmered until it is “reduced” in volume. This technique will thicken the liquid and intensify the flavor.  Although you will see references to “reducing” a soup, stew, or similar dish, most menus with the term “reduction” are referring to a sauce made by reduction. Some common ingredients included in sauce reductions often include broths, fruit juices, wines or other spirits, and vinegars. The sauce may also include herbs, spices, butter or other flavorings. When you see the term reduction on a menu, you will know that the sauce coming with a dish will have intense flavor.

You can make a simple balsamic vinegar reduction at home. You’ll simply need a small saucepan (a heavier weight one is best), a good quality balsamic vinegar (look for aged varieties), and around 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the quantity you’re working with. Simply pour the balsamic in the saucepan. You’ll want to start with about 2 to 3 times the vinegar that you want in the resulting reduction – so starting with 1 cup of vinegar will yield 1/3 to 1/2 cup of reduction. Bring the vinegar to just under boiling, and then quickly reduce to a slow simmer. Do not put a lid on it, as this will hamper the necessary evaporation. You don’t need to stir it much, but do monitor the progress frequently until you’ve used this technique a few times and learned how quickly your cookware and stove will reduce. It’s done when the volume is reduced by 1/2 to 2/3 (less reduction if you desire a thinner consistency, more reduction if you want it thicker). The reduction should coat a spoon nicely. Be careful not to go to far and burn the reduction. That’s it! This simple sauce has many delicious uses. Pair it with a nice hard cheese such as a parmesan or asiago, drizzle it over berries for a simple but elegant dessert. It’s also great over steak, pork, or roasted chicken parts. Enjoy!

Watch our page for future installments in our menu terms series.

(Reference: )

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *