Reductionduction, What’s Your Function?

Disclaimer:  In no way do I claim to have experience, nor even aptitude, for using heat and ingredients to effect a comestible (refer to my brief bio on this site).  Proceed at your own risk.

Despite my growing collection of cookbooks, including a drink mix guide I picked up at an estate sale for only a dollar,  I really don’t cook often, much less from one of the tomes.  Mostly, I look at the pretty pictures, and question whether or not I could lay my hands on some of the more remote ingredients, like sumac, or, umm, most of the ingredients in my Japanese cookbooks.

So imagine my surprise when I found myself in front of the stove earlier this evening, making a reduction! No cookbook, no Recipe dot com,  no memory of even watching a video of a reduction, or even ever tasting a reduction.

Look Ma – no hands!

I’ve become emboldened (and challenged) by my fellow E-Ho’s to just jump into the fray, consequences be damned, and get over my perfectionist butt.  So what if it turns out weird?  So what if no one tops crinkle cut fries with a reduction? If it tastes good, then it must BE good.

I had decided to make tilapia and fries for dinner for myself and my mom, and it was a very last minute decision.  I was going to bake the fish, but at the very last minute was seized with a longing for something fried.  I had already decided to bake the fries so they would be softer for my mom to chew, so a fish fry it ’twas.

As I assembled the ingredients and popped the fries into the oven to bake,  I remembered going to The Wine Bar with Falquan, about a hundred years ago, and sharing a delicious plate of their “Wino Fries”.  I also remembered a recent visit to Claddagh’s and dousing large plank fries with malt vinegar.  I then looked over at a bowl of tiny teardrop shaped yellow tomatoes I picked up from Tucker’s Farm just down the street a few days ago, and my brain began to whirl…

What if I smooshed up these delectable low-acid tomatoes

...and added some balsamic vinegar


...and, like, cooked it?


Apparently when one does that, one gets a reduction.  REDUCTO!

This is actually how I reduced my sauce

Whilst my spellwork was running in the background, I had fish to fry.  Some lovely multi-colored organic eggs to coat the filets was in order

Let's use the celadon colored one, shall we?

Followed by a generous coating of bread crumbs, cornmeal, and French’s Fried Onions

Naked fishy needs a coat

And into a cast iron skillet filled with sizzling hot oil.  I didn’t use a thermometer, and I’ve never tried to fry anything in this skillet.  Just went with my vestigial instinct on this one.

First one in wins the prize!

You know, those tilapia fillets are small.  I’m just gonna go ahead and cook all six, in two batches.

Ouch. I was splattered. Oh well, battle scar.


Obligatory kitchen gadget plug. Didn't need the spider for this shallow pan, so went back to the tongs.

Finally all the little fishies in the kitchen were fried up and waiting to be devoured

Still sizzlin' after all these seconds


Wow.  I’ve never fried fish so well before in my life.  I’ll never use anything other than a cast iron skillet again, cross my heart! (Didn’t take pics of me pulling pieces off and shoving them in my maw before I even plated it up, lol.)

……oh, yeah, I haz a reduktion.  Let me show you it now, on mah fries.

Reduction in place, eating commencing


I’d love to tell you I prepared a delicious cucumber and tomato salad as a side to this fry fest, but it ‘twould taste of a lie.

I ate five of six fillets.

…and it was good.



4 comments to Reductionduction, What’s Your Function?

  • princesszyrtec

    I’ll go ahead and leave the first comment, mostly because I’m too damn lazy to log back in and edit my post.

    The reduction was probably a bit thicker than it should have been — whether that was from cooking too long or adding the tomatoes, I don’t know. However, the taste was fantastic. The first acidic tang of vinegar was almost immediately followed by and subdued by a sweet yet earthy “winey” taste, yet it didn’t overpower the comforting taste of the french fry. I’m glad I baked the fry, because if I had fried it, the texture and taste would not have married as well with my REDUCTION! topping. As it was, the light, fluffy texture of the fry with the sticky, tangy reduction made for a very satisfying “stick to your palate” mouthfeel.

    I’m aware I’m not the first person to make a reduction, and whether I did it correctly or not doesn’t really matter to me. I’m just tickled I made something “snooty” completely on the fly.

  • That tilapia looks amazing; it’s becoming my favorite fish in the versatility it provides.

    Surprised that the vinegar was not overpowering. My experience with balsamic redux is that it longs to be reduced with something sugary or else it really hits you with the tang (that means two things!). Or, at least combined later with something else. Tomatoes I wouldn’t have expected to be able to provide enough sweetness considering their insides tend to eat away at the skin of my fingers when I cut a ludicrous amount of them.

    Also, public service announcement for those of us not living where actual sumac is, there’s a good chance the stuff in your back yard is the poison variety. Don’t put in your moneymaker and shake onto your fries.

    Or do. I hear an itchy moneymaker is all the rage these days.

    • princesszyrtec

      That’s what was so great about those little yellow tomatoes. They are low-acid, and sweeeet. I had been just eating them like candy out of the bowl for the prior two days. Mmmmmm. So sweet.

      They were shaped like teardrops. Perhaps they were teardrops of angel kittens, or unicorns? I imagine those are pretty sweet.

      …not itchy, but it’ll make you move!

  • Amon-Rukh

    If it tastes good, it IS good!

    Also: itchy moneymaker.

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