Balsamic vinegar is frequently used in Italian cooking. In fact, many restaurants will often bring a bottle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar to your table when dining.
White balsamic vinegar is found less frequently, but is often used in preparing foods where the dark color of balsamic vinegar may cause distraction.
Officially, there is no such thing as “white balsamic vinegar,” it is referred to as “condimento bianco” because it is not regulated by the Italian consortium and is not aged in wooden barrels like most fine balsamic vinegars from Modena.
We have sampled many white balsamic vinegars and found them lacking. As such, we decided to private label our own white balsamic vinegar to use occasionally with salads and fish.
For those unfamiliar with condimento bianco, it tends to be somewhat lighter and less viscous than good quality aged balsamic vinegar. We find it particularly refreshing on spring and summer salads.
This following recipe is from Rebecca Rather and Alison Oresman and is reprinted in May, 2010 Epicurious from their cookbook: Pastry Queen Parties: Entertaining Friends and Family, Texas Style.
White Balsamic Vinegar and Jicama Slaw Salad
Yield 12 servings
A "sweet" salad for those interested in something a bit different. The white balsamic vinegar makes a nice touch.
- 1 medium head napa cabbage (about 2 1/2 pounds)
- 3 medium carrots, grated on the large holes
- 1 large jicama (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into large matchsticks
- 1 bunch chopped green onions, white part only
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into large matchsticks
- 3/4 cup dried currants or dried cranberries
For White Balsamic Dressing
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (about 1 medium lime)
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar (Gourmet Living)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
To Make the Salad: Trim off the cabbage root end, thinly slice crosswise, then chop into pieces that can be easily picked up with a fork. Combine the cabbage, carrots, jicama, green onions, apples, and dried currants in a large bowl.
To Make the Dressing: Vigorously whisk together the garlic, lime juice, honey, oil, mustard, balsamic vinegar, and mayonnaise in a medium bowl until the dressing is thoroughly combined. Whisk in the fennel seeds and pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture. Stir until the dressing evenly covers the slaw. The slaw will be a little soupy, which is just the way I like it. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until ready to serve.
Variation For those who plan to wear their summer shorts short, you can lighten the dressing: for the 1 cup mayonnaise, substitute 1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise plus 3/4 cup nonfat or low-fat yogurt.