Tips from Chef Thomas

Issue #1: The Importance of Acid

Outside of buying quality ingredients, proper seasoning is on of the most important things when creating the perfect dish, and yes, salt is very important. We all know you need salt a dish while cooking; many people don’t think about at home though comes in a close second, acid.

The body absolutely craves acid; it’s what makes our mouths water. You can even look to one of the most simple things in the world, ketchup. Without acid, in this case, vinegar, ketchup would be disgusting, it enhances the natural acidity of tomatoes. Even a simple Alfredo sauce is improved with a hint of acid, a little champagne vinegar or white balsamic can cut right through the fatty richness that is the sauce’s base.

A collection of 1300 vinegars isn’t necessary at home though. Starting off, all you really need is a great white vinegar, either champagne or white wine. As well a solid red vinegar, a red wine vinegar will do just fine. Apple cider vinegar has become immensely popular recently, as it not only adds that craved flavor but also has many health benefits & uses. My personal favorite is Banyuls, a great aged French red wine vinegar, it’s not quite balsamic, and not quite red wine, it’s a happy flavorful medium between the two.

Another great way to impart acid into a dish is simply by keeping citrus handy. Having a lemon, a lime, or an orange handy when cooking can play a huge role in the flavor of a dish, whether you are using the rind or the juice. Imagine a non-acidic Key Lime Pie, actually, let’s not.

I thought it would be great to include a little simple recipe with that you can do at home concerning acid. A basic lemon curd. This lemon curd is so versatile, delicious on toast, in a classic tart or even with a scoop of your favorite ice cream.

Chef Thomas’ Simple Lemon Curd

Ingredients & Tools

200g Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
200g Fresh Egg Yolks
200g Granulated White Sugar
Double Boiler (or a pot of boiling water with a mixing bowl that fits on top)
Ice Bath (large mixing bowl half full with ice)
Storage Container with Lid – A picking jar works great
Fine Mesh Strainer

PRO TIP: Don’t let the flames come out from under the pot of water, this will cause the bowl on top to burn around the edges. Keep the flame around medium depending on the size of your pot.

Separate yolk from egg whites, you can discard the whites (unless you want to make meringues to go with your curd.
Juice lemons, this is something you shouldn’t skimp on, don’t buy juice. Strain fresh juice through mesh strainer to separate all pulp and seeds.

Weigh out equal parts egg yolk, sugar, and lemon juice. Combine all ingredients in double boiler over double boiler.
Whisk constantly, do not let it rest. Continue whisking until the mixture become desired thickness, it should create a “thick ribbon.”
Transfer the hot curd bowl to an ice bath and stir until chilled.
Place your lemon curd in a covered dish and store in the fridge.
You will find many uses for lemon curd, and it will store in your fridge for an extended amount of time. It really is a great way to add acid to everyday items or impress your houseguests.