Grab a bottle of vinegar.
Sure, you might already be mixing white wine vinegar with oil to make your own vinaigrette. You might already enjoy splashing malt vinegar onto your fish and chips. Maybe you’re even soaking vegetables in distilled white vinegar to make your own pickles. But if you’re not using vinegar to season your food, you’re missing out!
Just like salt, vinegar has the power to alter the flavour of your food, even in small quantities. In fact, people who have to follow low-sodium diets can use vinegar to add flavour to their food without adding salt. Of course, your food will be tastier if you can use both.
The acidity of vinegar is particularly good for cutting through the richness of fat, and the gaminess of meats. Actually, one of my favourite dishes to cook is lamb chops with a red wine vinegar, mustard and rosemary sauce. I think I found the original recipe in a Jamie Oliver cookbook a while back, and then started to play around with it, adding more mustard and red wine vinegar to help balance out the strong fatty flavour of the lamb. My recipe was pretty decent, but it still wasn’t quite right.
Then, in my last Culinary Arts class, the chef told us that her friend recommends using raspberry vinegar with lamb. Apparently, the fruity flavour of that vinegar adds a freshness to the lamb that other vinegars just can’t impart. Raspberry vinegar has always seemed a bit superfluous to me, but I was curious so I went out and bought a bottle. It turns out that the fruity flavour of the vinegar was what my lamb chops were missing! You can’t actually taste the flavour of raspberries, it’s just a subtle sweet tanginess that makes the lamb taste less heavy.
So now I have a bottle of raspberry vinegar to add to my collection of vinegars that include both red and white wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar, and an absurdly large bottle of Balsamic. I’ve heard that sherry vinegar can be used to finish soups, and intensify the tomato flavour in tomato sauce, so I’ll be buying that one next. Then there’s apple cider vinegar, and tarragon vinegar, and champagne vinegar, and coconut vinegar and…
I’m going to need a bigger pantry.
About the author:
Shareba Abdul is digital media professional who specializes in food styling, writing and photography. She explores international cuisine on her blog InSearchOfYummyness.com.
Have you ever experienced that moment when you’ve just finished cooking, and your kitchen smells amazing, but your final dish just tastes kind of… flat? Adding more salt can help, but you can only add so much before it becomes too salty, and sometimes it’s just not enough. So, what do you do?