Thursday, July 7, 2011

How to Make Balsamic Vinegar "Caviar"

I first saw this technique at Michael Chiarello's cooking demonstration at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic. Chiarello was a bit of a jackass (if I do say so myself) but still, this was awesome to watch and fun to make at home. I used these to top off some bruschetta; they would also be fantastic on a caprese salad!

It takes over an hour but a lot of that is time waiting for things to cool or freeze. You will need a plastic squeeze bottle and a fine mesh sieve.

  • 3 cups canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp gelatin powder

1. Pour the oil into a glass bowl or dish a freeze for an hour. The oil will turn cloudy and almost icy.

2. In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar to a boil over medium-high heat. Let it boil for 2 minutes then lower the heat to medium. Add the gelatin powder and whisk gently until it thickens (3 minutes). Remove from heat and let it cool for about an hour until it is room temperature. Don't use an ice bath to speed up the process, just let it cool naturally.

3. Pour the vinegar into the squeeze bottle and place it in the freezer for 1 minute. Remove the canola oil and the squeeze bottle from the freezer. Holding the squeeze bottle over the oil, gently squeeze one bead at a time into the oil and moving around so the drops fall apart from each other. When you've emptied the squeeze bottle, transfer the oil bowl to the freezer for two minutes.

Slowly dripping the vinegar in a circular motion.

Watch them fall!

The balls will fall to the bottom; some tiny drops will stay at the top.
4. Gently strain the balsamic beads through a sieve to separate them from the oil. Cover and refrigerate immediately. The "caviar" should be used the same day it is made.

Strain the balsamic balls from the oil.


  1. my vinegar once cooled was harder than jello, was there an additional water additive not mentioned?

  2. I bet it's supposed to be 2 tsp of gelatin and not 2 Tbs

  3. it says "use the same day" can you tub these and use them later... if so, how long will they keep?

  4. When it comes to caviar and fine foods, there are a lot of places that you can get caviar, only at you can find the wolrds finest caviar.