Tanner Agar, owner of Rye restaurant in McKinney, Texas, praises the value of vinegar.
Secret Ingredient: Vinegar. It’s not unexpected, but it is criminally under-appreciated.
How to Use It: Vinegars draw out the existing flavors of your food, add balance to the dish, and bring nuanced elements you can’t get anywhere else. I started making my own—I’ve had many over the years, but my Guinness vinegar is a constant favorite. Put that in a spritzer bottle and add it to fries; it’s amazing every time.
Alex Baker, executive chef of Yves in New York City, highlights sherry vinegar in particular. Capirete is her favorite.
Secret Ingredient: Sherry vinegar. It’s such an under-appreciated vinegar. It’s balsamic’s cooler cousin! It’s often less expensive than balsamic and is much more complex.
How to Use It: When I worked in kitchens in Paris, the chefs always used sherry vinegar to finish sauces and brighten their dishes. I finish almost all my sauces and jus with just a touch of sherry. I also use it in dressings, to marinate fresh summer vegetables like tomatoes and beets, and in soups.