What is it? It’s the thing you’re missing when you’re cooking to taste and can’t quite figure out what’s lacking. Acid brightens up your food and adds a tangy contrast to a starchy or rich sauce—like the lime in your guacamole. Having a well-stocked variety of acidic ingredients like lemons, limes, oranges, tomatoes, wine and vinegar, will ensure a flavorful sauce is never far from reach.
When to use it? Any time your sauce is tasting flat, try a dash of vinegar, wine, tomato juice or a squeeze of citrus. Any time you want to balance the heaviness of a rich sauce, try adding an acid for the perfect tangy contrast.
How to make it: There are many ways to incorporate acid into a sauce. We recommend getting started with one of the recipes below.
- For a perfectly balanced sauce that uses acid to maximum impact, we recommend trying our Lemon-Dijon Chicken Skillet, which features a luscious sauce that’s made bright and flavorful with the addition of lemon.
- If you’re craving something rich and comforting, the velvety peanut-curry sauce used in our Slow-Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken recipe is set off perfectly by a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
- Or, try smothering your pork chops in citrusy orange zest and orange juice for a dish that’s unlike anything you’ve tasted before.
So, there you have it; start your sauce with butter and flour, pan drippings or a bundle of herbs. From there, you can transform your roux into a creamy, rich béchamel; thicken your pan sauce with a shake of Wondra; or zhuzh up your herb sauce with a dash of acid. With these six secrets at your disposal, you have the power to make every meal just a little more delicious! (P.S. These “secrets” have long been codified and used by professional chefs and now they’re yours to use too. Delicious sauces shouldn’t only be the domain of professionals!)