Gastriques are rather plucky. At their simplest, a combination of caramelized sugar and vinegar, they can be the perfect accompaniment to a large variety of foods: adding the je ne sais quoi flavor-burst to a seemingly tame chicken or fish dish, enhancing a duck entree, giving an unexpected twist to a delicate dessert, and most recently, sneaking into some heady cocktails.
Chef Evan Hennesseyof Stages at One Washington shares his technique for creating the perfect blonde gastrique. Start with a 2:1 ratio of sugar to water. The sugar and water meld into a syrup as the pan heats up and eventually create a smooth caramel. Now add the vinegar (same amount by weight as sugar) and give it a good swirl. After a couple of minutes, add the wine. Hennessey recommends using a chardonnay or any full bodied wine with some creaminess. Let the mixture reduce slightly and you have a gastrique. Robust, sweet, and sour, it can be added to a sauce or used as a glaze. Keep in mind that usually, a little will go a long way.