I’ll be the first to admit that I love fancy anything. I love finishing touches that make my dishes extra special. My co-worker invited me over for dinner and her husband introduced me to balsamic vinegar “caviars” this weekend so I decided to re-create them myself. These little beautiful balls are a simple and fantastic way to add a touch of molecular gastronomy to your dishes since the balsamic vinegar is transformed into tiny jelly balls using agar agar and the standard cold oil spherification method.
The whole process seemed daunting at first but I got it after a few tries. So, what exactly is cold oil spherification? It’s a method in which you droplets of hot agar solution below 95 ˚F, by releasing them in cold oil using a syringe. You then have to heat your agar agar (gelatin mixture) to a boil for it to set as gel then set at a temperature around 100 ˚F. Here are a few quick tips that I came up with that come in handy for you:
-Put the oil in the feezer for longer that 30 minutes (I have done it for 2 hours, although I use about 3 cups of oil.) The oil should be cloudy and opaque throughout, and if it is nice and thick (petroleum Jelly status), you can stir it and you should be fine.
-Make sure that when you heat the liquid solution with the Agar Agar, you let it boil for 1-2 minutes, stirring vigorously. This will allow the Agar to fully saturate in your liquid.
-Let the solution cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, before starting to drop the pearls.
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp agar agar
2 cups chilled olive oil
1. Place the olive oil in the freezer for 30 minutes.
2. Mix the balsamic vinegar and the agar-agar gelatin and bring them to a boil.
Use a pipette or large syringe drip the vinegar mixture into the olive oil slowly (the droplets will mesh together if you spray them into the oil too quickly. Using a fine mesh sieve, gently rinse the caviar with filtered water. Garnish your dish and serve!