How to Make Balsamic Vinegar Pearls

Andy Anderson !


Want to have fun… Want to feel like a real mad scientist in the kitchen? Then how about a little molecular gastronomy… you game?

Molecular gastronomy is a part of food science that attempts to push the edges of the culinary arts. The three components of the discipline are social, artistic, and technical. Other terms are: multi-sensory cooking, modernist cuisine, culinary physics, and experimental cuisine.

So you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.

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30 Min
10 Min
Stove Top


7 oz
balsamic vinegar
0.5 oz
powered agar agar, or about 1.5 tablespoons
2 c
canola oil, any good oil will do


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1Gather your ingredients.

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2Add the oil to a container, and place into the freezer for 30 minutes.

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3Chef’s Note: The container should be tall… that will give the balsamic vinegar droplets time to form and cool before reaching the bottom.

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4Chef’s Tip: Wait until the oil has been in the freezer for about thirty minutes, before performing the remaining steps.

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5Put the balsamic into a saucepan, and bring to a lite simmer.

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6Add the agar agar and whisk to combine.

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7Chef’s Note: What is agar agar: It’s a gelatinous substance extracted from red seaweed and used in biological culture media and as a thickener in foods. It’s very popular in molecular gastronomy.

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8Chef’s Tip: You can find agar agar in most oriental food stores, or on the Internet.;keywords=agar+agar

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9Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer.

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10Allow the sauce to lightly simmer for about 5 minutes.

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11Remove from heat, and allow to rest for five minutes.

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12Add the balsamic sauce to a vessel capable of producing small drops.

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13Allow the sauce to drop to 130f (55c), give or take a few degrees.

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14Chef’s Tip: If the liquid is too hot, the droplets may not cool down enough and therefore not gel completely before reaching the bottom of the glass, resulting in deformed spheres. I HATE it when that happens.

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15Remove the oil from the freezer, and add the sauce, drop-by-drop to the cold oil.

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16Continue until you have as many drops as you need.

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17Wait a bit, and then carefully drain the oil off, and remove the pearls from the oil.

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18Chef's Note: Use them in any way that you would use balsamic vinegar… but in a creative way. Enjoy.
Tomato & Mozzarella with Balsamic Pearls

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19Keep the faith, and keep cooking.