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There's Something About Sherry...

We all have one item in the pantry or cupboard that we can’t do without. If you open the door and can’t find it, or there’s not enough to do what you were planning, you experience a sinking feeling of disappointment. For me, that one pantry item is sherry vinegar.

Let me explain how much I love sherry vinegar. If I’m traveling and will be doing any cooking at my destination, I’ll bring my own vinegar.

Yes, I have other vinegars in my cupboard, but there’s something special about sherry. Balsamic has a very strong flavor, and red wine vinegar can too. Sherry, meanwhile, is a gentler vinegar, and a little more sophisticated and nuanced in its flavor profile. Because it’s so well rounded, I find it to be very versatile and compatible with many types of dishes and cuisines.

Here are three of my favorite ways to use sherry vinegar in everyday cooking:

  1. Vinaigrette: My go-to homemade vinaigrette is the following: whole grain mustard and a generous pinch of sea salt whisked with sherry vinegar. Whisk in olive oil until slightly thickened. Or add all ingredients to a jar and shake. Your salads will thank you.
  2. On roasted or grilled vegetables: I love preparing vegetables very simply, so that the flavors of the vegetables are at the forefront. I’ll often roast a tray of cut veggies, tossed with a little olive oil, sea salt and pepper. When they come out of the oven, I add a splash of sherry vinegar and toss. Same thing with grilling — oil sliced vegetables, grill, then toss with sherry vinegar. Think mushrooms, bell peppers, broccoli, eggplant, summer squash and carrots.
  3. When in doubt…: If you are cooking something and it needs a little boost of flavor — reach for sherry vinegar. In the same way that a squeeze of fresh citrus provides a lively zip, a splash of sherry vinegar may add just the balance you are looking for. It’s wonderful with winter greens.

Here are a few more ideas to help you start exploring this vinegar:

Roasted Spiced Sweet Potatoes and Pears

Spanish Deviled Eggs

Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad   

What’s your pantry hero, the item you hate to run out of?