As cooks we insist that food be tasted as you go and seasoned accordingly. But we shouldn't just turn to the salt and pepper shakers -- acid and sweetners are often overlooked in home kitchens as agents for bringing balance to a dish. I keep vinegar and lemons nearby for this purpose, but one of my favorite tools is my bottle of Terra Sonoma Saba. The sweet tart syrup of pressed wine grapes that have been reduced and aged serves as an extra special finish to an incredible range of dishes.
Saba may be an everyday ingredient for Italians, but Terra Sonoma is the first winery to produce the condiment in the states. Located in Sonoma's Alexander Valley, Terra Sonoma uses estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes, reduces the nectar slowly over four weeks and ages it in bourbon barrels for a year. Thick and intense, the finished syrup is tart without the harsh edge of vinegar and bursting with the smooth sweetness of juicy fruit. It's almost too easy to deplete our coveted bottle. Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy Saba.
Tossed with roasted and chopped beets and served on crostini with fresh cheese, such as ricotta or creamy mozzarella.
Drizzled over Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus.
On top of warm baked pears, vanilla ice cream and buttery almond shortbread cookies.
Added as the final flourish to a meaty pan sauce to serve alongside seared duck breast or a tender steak.
Used simply with olive oil, salt, and pepper as dressing for peppery and bitter salad greens, such as radicchio and arugula.
Caroline Ford is a food stylist, writer & recipe developer in Portland, OR. More of her writing can be found on her blog: Food. Write. Style.