Every chef has their cooking preferences, some like it hot and spicy, while I am definitely a sweet and sour. Two of my favorite ingredients are honey and vinegar. In my recent article in the Petaluma Post I promised to blog in more detail about some of my favorite vinegars.
On a regular basis you will find 5 to 6 vinegars in my cup board: Distilled, White Wine, Red Wine, Sherry, Balsamic (possibly 2 kinds), Rice Wine, and Apple Cider. Why? You may ask. Because they all have very different flavor palates and their uses vary greatly.
My current favorite vinegar is Sherry vinegar. Balsamic has had the lime light for many years and I think it is time for Sherry to come forward. Made from Sherry in Spain it is considered one of the top gourmet vinegars. It is aged in American oak barrels for a very full flavor. Like most gourmet vinegars you can find quality and knock offs. With some vinigars, the cheap one is usual fine, but with this vinegar I would recommend using a quality product.
When using a vinegar of this level you use it sparingly and just to dress or finish salads and dishes. The flavor palate is sweet and delicate from the aging. Having a wine base I find that it will blend better with wines than many of the others.
This summer when your tomatoes are in their full glory, slice up a few, sprinkle with salt and pepper, olive oil and then just a drizzle of Sherry vinegar.