There are infinite ways to use vinegar in the kitchen, and while you’re probably aware of many of them—for pickles, marinades, dressings—some might surprise you.
For his new cookbook, Acid Trip: Travels in the World of Vinegar, author Michael Harlan Turkell traveled the world exploring the vinegar traditions of France, Italy, Austria, Japan, and North America. Along the way, he asked chefs from Boston’s Barbara Lynch to Houston’s Chris Shepherd what they do with the tangy elixir, and boy, did they have ideas. Below are just a few.
While it may seem odd to an American palate, serving eggs topped with vinegar is not uncommon in France. Parisian chef Bertrand Auboyneau’s version fries an egg in “an ample knob of butter,” then reduces a couple tablespoons of white wine vinegar in the leftover pan butter, and tops the whole thing with chopped tarragon. You can try his version, or just sprinkle a touch of vinegar over your next batch of scrambled eggs.
Ice Cream with Vinegar
Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams shares a recipe for Parmesan Ice Cream with Balsamic Cherry Shrub. And while that sounds absolutely amazing, you can achieve a similar-yet-simpler flavor by spooning a bit of real-deal balsamic over ice cream at home.
Pepper and Vinegar Jelly
Vinegar loves heat, and Boston chef Barbara Lynch combines them in her recipe for pepper jelly. Diced bell peppers and jalapenos are combined in an apple cider vinegar syrup that Turkell says is great on a cheese board or even a BLT.
This one is a classic, although perhaps one you’ve never heard. Born of the Depression, vinegar is used instead of then-pricey citrus to provide tang to a custard base. Acid Trip includes a version from Houston chef Chris Shepherd, who adapted a customer’s family recipe after she called to ask if they made her childhood favorite.
You have, perhaps, had vinegar in cocktails. But have you had a vinegar negroni? Acid Trip features Brooklyn bartender Damon Boelte’s version, which includes strawberries and cucumber. Try it out at home by making a classic negroni—equal parts Campari, sweet vermouth, and gin—and then adding a drop of balsamic on top.
These bar snacks are made by letting cooked sausages like
Kielbasa sit in a brine of garlic, sugar, bay leaves, and apple cider vinegar for about a week. Turkell includes a recipe from a friend in the book, but get a feel for the flavor by sprinkling a bit of apple cider vinegar over sliced sausages on your next snack plate.
Paula Forbes has reviewed cookbooks for nearly a decade for sites like Epicurious, Eater, Eat Me Daily, and now Food52. She's currently working on a cookbook about the foods and restaurants of Austin, Texas.