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Apple Cider Reduction

There is a tradition among some old European cultures that during the harvest celebration meal, which is what Thanksgiving essentially is, that at least a little bit of all the foods you raised, harvested or caught that year should be represented on your table.  If you didn’t, you weren’t showing proper thanks for the bounty of the year and were courting bad luck in your catch/harvest for the upcoming season.
I kind of like that tradition.  It helps keep in mind that idea of expressing your thanks on Thanksgiving day.

In the spirit of that tradition, I try to make sure I place some of my own catch on the T-day table along with the turkey, stuffing, candied yams and the metric butt-load of other dishes my friends and I put out for the feast.
Salmon, being such a big part of my angling season is a must when it comes time for me to give thanks.  And one of my favorite ways to prepare salmon just happens to fit perfectly with the season.

Broiled salmon filet topped with cider reduction glaze.

Here I cooked the whole filet along with some green beans to place on the holiday table.

Broiling salmon is easy.  Just season the filets with salt & pepper, give them a light drizzle of apple cider reduction on the top or “presentation side”. Have your oven set to broil at 400 degrees.  Heat an oven safe saute pan either in the oven or over a medium flame. Keeping the presentation side up, place the filets iin the pan and immediately place it under the broiler.  Cook them for about 10 – 12 minutes until they are lightly browned on top and done to your liking.  After removing them from the oven,  drizzle them with some more of the cider reduction and you are ready to enjoy.

What is this cider reduction you ask?  Only one of my favorite items to keep around the kitchen.
I’m going to share with you an article a wrote a couple years ago on another blog about this stuff.  Enjoy!

Flavor trapped in amber

One of the common questions that gets posed to culinarians or “foodies” across the social media-verse from time to time is, What are your staple food items? What do you always keep on hand in your kitchen?
The answers include a lot of the familiar items like olive oil, balsamic vinegar, various spices, stocks, produce, etc.
Of course we wouldn’t be foodies if many of us didn’t try distinguish ourselves with less typical responses. Cubes of frozen demi-glaze, jars of duck fat, truffle salt, preserved lemons, chow chow are a few that come to mind.
In my case, I keep two squeeze bottles in easy reach of my stove. One of them contains olive oil (probably the number one answer) and the other contains apple cider reduction.
Mmmm, I love this stuff. Just a little bit adds sweetness and a nice pop of flavor to vegetables, seafood, meats, desserts … so many things.
Try finishing a quick saute of zucchini & onions with a tablespoon of cider reduction or drizzle a little over a piece of pan seared salmon. It makes a great finishing glaze for pork or poultry. Use it to sweeten your breakfast oatmeal. I even like to put a touch into my Earl Grey tea.All of these require just a small amount of the reduction; that’s why I keep it in a squeeze bottle. As the sugars and the flavor in the apple cider are concentrated, you want to be able to carefully portion it out in small amounts. A little goes a long way with this stuff.The recipe is simple:
1 gallon of fresh apple cider
Use only the real, pressed apple cider. If it is kept on an unrefrigerated store shelf, don’t use it.
If the ingredient list contains anything other than apples (or pears if you choose to make a pear cider reduction), don’t use it.Measure 2 ¼ cups of cider and place it in a 5 or 6 quart sauce pot. This is so you can see how much liquid should be left in the pot when it is done.
Pour the rest of the gallon of cider in the pot and place it over medium heat. Bring it to low boil & continue to cook until it reduces to 2 ¼ cups.
This is going to take a while, probably a couple hours and you’ll need to keep an eye on it, especially as it gets closer to finishing. Don’t try to rush it by turning the heat higher.
As the cider begins to get close to desired level of reduction, the bubbles will get smaller & the boil will look somewhat “foamy”. You’ll need to reduce the heat slightly at this point so that it doesn’t boil up or scorch.
Be careful, hot syrup is dangerous.Once it is done, allow to cool to room temperature before putting it in a storage container. Ideally it should be the consistency of honey. If it is too runny, it can be reduced more. If it is too thick, it can be gently rewarmed and thinned down with a little more cider.

Like honey, cider reduction is shelf stable, although feel free to keep it in the fridge if you like.
I make a couple batches during the fall when fresh, local cider is available and even with as much as I use it, that’s usually enough to last me most of the year.

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