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Are You Buying Fake Balsamic Vinegar?

Are You Buying Fake Balsamic Vinegar?

Pantry Essential

Everyone knows this dark, sweet-tart ingredient is suited to vinaigrettes, but when you think outside the salad bowl, balsamic really reveals its potential. It’s an instant source of tangy depth in marinades for meats and in sauces and glazed vegetables.

The Real Deal

True balsamic is made by aging boiled Trebbiano grape juice in barrels for 12 to 25 years, giving it a concentrated sweetness. Many versions at supermarkets aren’t true balsamic — instead, they’re made from regular wine vinegar with added sweeteners. These balsamics cost $3 to $14, while prices for true balsamic start at $50 and can reach $200 or more.

Designer Labels

For an everyday value, look for bottles labeled “Aceto Balsamico di Modena” at supermarkets. As an indulgence, seek out a small bottle of higher-grade balsamic (marked “condimento” or “tradizionale”) from a specialty shop or an Italian market.

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Balsamic-Glazed Pork Chops

4 bone-in pork rib chops (10 ounces each)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup Balsamic-Rosemary Vinaigrette

1. Place pork in a shallow dish, and season with salt and pepper. Pour vinaigrette over pork, and turn to coat. Cover, and refrigerate at least 1 hour (or up to 1 day).

2. Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. Remove pork from marinade (letting excess drip off); place on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Broil, without turning, until opaque throughout, 8 to 10 minutes (if chops are browning too quickly, turn them). Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

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