Sherry vinegar: recipes with a spark

Its enormous culinary possibilities make Sherry vinegar an essential dressing in a multitude of dishes, from a salad to a dessert.


This very Spanish condiment (the first wine vinegar of Spain protected by a DO) was valued by the great French chefs, who used it long before the Spanish, who for years ignored it. The beginnings were also hard because the winemakers considered it a loss of prestige that the wine became vinegary. Now everyone seems to have realized that Sherry vinegar is the ingredient capable of spicing up any recipe. It is present in the kitchens of the best restaurants in the world and many international chefs declare themselves devoted.

There is a factor that determines the quality of this product: the noble origin of the raw material, the sherry wines. As José Ferrer, ambassador of Sherry wines, explains, “They are very expressive wines, with an enormous wealth of aromas and flavors that are reflected in their vinegars, transmitting that complexity to the dishes. The different varieties of Sherry vinegar, endorsed with the European PDO quality seal -Denomination of Protected Origin-, offer the guarantee of having been aged in a traditional way with 100% origin in Sherry Wines. “

Sherry vinegar is aged in barrels between six months and two years. And for its elaboration the same aging system is used as for Jerez wines, that is, soleras and criaderas.

It is deep amber in color and contains mahogany tones. On the nose, the acetic notes include hints of nuts and other derivatives of its aging in wood. There are five different types of Sherry vinegar that are used differently in the kitchen:

              • Sherry vinager.
              • Sherry Vinegar Reserve.
              • Sherry Vinegar Gran Reserva.
              • Sherry vinegar with Pedro Ximenez.
              • Sherry Vinegar with Moscatel.

The importance of acid

Acidity helps to awaken the appetite and creates a play of contrasts that prepares the palate for food. But they also keep the tension throughout the menu. It is the acidic sensation that highlights nuances and stimulates the papillae. As José Ferrer states, “in the aperitif pickles with sherry vinegar are perfect to start a fun meal, and can be further enriched with a good combination of spices and aromatic herbs, resulting in pickles with a gastronomic potential that is very difficult to achieve with other acidic seasonings. “

Regarding salads, pre-emulsify the vinegar and oil, and later add other ingredients such as capers, pickles, anchovies, parsley, salt, garlic, etc. it is the best way to proceed. Sherry Vinegar is a fundamental ingredient in the Mediterranean diet. Just a few drops are enough to season the sauces that add a special touch to pasta or vegetable dishes, adding aromas and enhancing the flavor of the whole and nuancing it.

A great resource for salty cooking

It is the base of marinades, marinades and pickles. The quality of the marinades made with sherry vinegar is remarkable. In the case of oily fish, such as mackerel, it helps to lighten their fat content. But it is also irreplaceable in poultry and game dishes.

It enhances the classic sauces that traditionally accompany seafood, such as mayonnaise, tartar or black butter sauce. It is also a perfect ally to enjoy oysters and other bivalves, enhancing the iodized flavor and alkalinity of these mollusks. José Ferrar proposes to use it even in ceviche: “if we substitute lime juice for a young sherry vinegar in the preparation of the tiger’s milk in a ceviche, we will give an original Jerez touch to this dish that is so fashionable. The result is surprising and delicious ”. Although surely Peruvians do not like the change in the taste of citric acid for acetic acid, which is what is present in Sherry vinegar.

Adding a splash of sherry vinegar to meat while cooking, whether in a saucepan, grill or frying pan, is an old trick widely used by cooks. We must not forget the popular garlic and parsley refried to which vinegar is added – much better when it is from Jerez – before sprinkling the fillets (also the fish). In the case of oven roasts, with just a few drops you can add a different touch. The same as in stews and legume stews

Sparks to end

The combination of sweet and sour on the palate is often surprising. There the Sherry vinager triumph again. It is the essential ingredient, for example, to get a good caramel, as it gives it an intense flavor and a perfect, thick and unctuous texture. Combined with citrus and acidic fruits, such as strawberries or oranges, it offers very interesting results to enrich the syrup, offering a lighter and fresher finish to the meal. In this case, it is advisable to let the fruits marinate in the acid syrup before serving.

Recipe Pickled rice with seaweed and sole by Vicente Patiño

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