On Western Avenue, just north of the main area of Pike Place Market, Quintessential Gourmet quietly opened its doors a few months ago. It was such a quiet opening that, although I remember hearing about it, I soon forgot about it. On a recent Sunday morning walk, Michi and I noticed the shop and stopped in to check it out.
Inside the shop there are rows of stainless steel containers filled with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, many fused with other ingredients providing a range of flavors. All of them are available for tasting and once you’ve found the one (or maybe the many) you’d like to take home, there are a variety of sizes from which to choose.
I sampled several interesting flavors but just recently stocked up on a bunch of olive oil so held off on a big purchase. There was one vinegar I could not resist though, so a small bottle of Maple Balsamic made its way home with me.
I bought it specifically because I was on my way to buy salmon (and it turned out, scallops, too!) and the vinegar seemed like the perfect light flavor to enhance it.
I thought about reducing the vinegar to a thick glaze but decided to use it as is, instead. I lightly brushed the salmon with the vinegar before grilling it on a cedar plank and again just as the salmon came off the heat. I also braised chopped kale, added a few golden raisins to it and then drizzled that with the vinegar. The vinegar was wonderful in both uses. Balsamic vinegar is a little bit sweet. The maple increases the sweetness and adds a little richness but the vinegar still has a nice tang.
In the photo below you can see how the vinegar darkened the salmon a little. The run-off on the plate is from the kale. The patty on the plate is a risotto cake made with the leftover risotto from the scallop dinner.
I’m looking forward to going back and discovering more flavor treasures sometime soon.
2001 Western Avenue, Suite 110
Pike Place Market