Thursday, October 4, 2007

Black Currant and Balsamic Gastrique – Simple Complexity

This video recipe produced for About.com is my take on a classic French sauce, the Gastrique. In its most basic form it’s simply a caramelized sugar and vinegar reduction. The modern Gastrique is usually a vinegar reduction combined with some type of fruit, either fresh, or in jams and preserves. The reason for the “Simple Complexity” in the title is the fact that this sauce is ridiculously easy to make, yet the number of potential combinations is virtually infinite.

The complex layers of flavors that can be achieved by mixing and matching different fruits and vinegars is what makes this such a fun sauce to make and serve. You could use the exact same technique you’ll see in the video and make a new version every time you serve this for the rest of your life. By the way, if you have any smoked duck breast laying around, the combination of Black Currant preserves and aged Balsamic vinegar I used was perfect. Enjoy!

20 comments:

Uncledee said...

how you doing chef john? that looks really good, um.., i was wondering what kinda greens would you use with this? i was thinking orange and arugula but the sauce is already tart - it wont give a good balance would it?

Dan pallotti said...

John,

Can you puree the gastrique instead of straining it?

Chef John said...

I served it with baby romaine. the idea of a gastrique is that it has a balance between tart and sweet, so almost any green will work. Arugula would be great.

Dan, As far as pureeing. That would make the sauce "cloudy" and it wouldnt have that beautiful clear shine I like.

Anonymous said...

chef john, i love you. if you ever stop doing this, please (oh, please) release all your video demos for sale on dvd (home-made, nothing fancy) i'd sure pay for one. (might not be a bad idea now...)

Chef John said...

I burned my first test DVD today!! I think my cooking school may end up on a DVD vs. webpages. Still experimenting...stay tuned. BTW no plans on stopping the site.

Anonymous said...

What fruit/preserve would you pair with a 5-spice grilled piece of fish? Does the combination even make sense? Thanks much in advance for this. Best AP...

Chef John said...

lets try lemon juice as the acid and orange marmalade as the fruit,with some fresh cilantro at the end. Should work!

Anonymous said...

great suggestion. thanks. would lemon juice/vinegar and a ginger preserve work? AP

Chef John said...

may fight the ginger in the 5-spice. You want a contrast, especially with the smokiness of the grill flavor. But, hey, give it a try if you want. You can make multiple versions since its served on the side.

Anonymous said...

as always...thanks AP

Anonymous said...

...so this is what i did.

1. Fish, five spice rub (made it without ginger based on what you said in your video), seared on pan and finished in the oven. Served with..
2. Gastrique made with orange ginger marmalade, lime juice and cilantro.
3. Salad dressed with a ginger dressing
4. Cauliflower roasted with garlic and chili flakes

as you can tell, i love ginger

....90% of the above I learned to make from your blog and loved every morsel of it!

thanks so much for everything...AP (NYC)

Chef John said...

sounds amazing! Great job... You made me hungry!

Allison said...

The smoked duck in the photo looks amazing -- much meatier than what I've purchased in the past. Where did you buy it?

BTW, I love your blog! I found it yesterday and was up half the night watching your videos. As soon as I woke up I was back for more. :)

Chef John said...

thanks! its a local product from Sonoma Valley Foie Gras

Anonymous said...

Hi! Just stumbled on your blog and I love it already. You do great work. Thanks! Hope you never stop.

cody said...

Taste for salt lol whoops

javier said...

Chef John,

I'm an avid fan of your blog. Keep up the good work. Can the gastrique be done a little bit ahead of time? (before the chaos when everybody arrives. I want to drink the wines too!). Can it be eventually reheated?

Also, if possible, what's YOUR tip for seared (fat-in) duck breasts? I'm looking at rendering the fat at low heat for about 10 minutes (starting with a cold pan and slightly scoring the fat), then about 2-3 minutes flesh down and finally 5 minutes in the oven at 300F.

Thanks!!

Chef John said...

yes, the sauce can be made weeks ahead. I just score the skin and cook skin side down most of the way and then turn for a few minutes. I dont roast breasts.

javier said...

Thank you, Chef. They came out well, although a bit undercooked for 2 people. The gastrique was a very fine touch too. Butternut squash puree with a pinch of ginger powder was a nice side dish. I need to cook duck more often as its delicate flavor goes well with some of the more restraint wines I enjoy.
Be well.

Anonymous said...

Would you consider making a video on how to make smoked duck breast?