I’ve craved all things sour my whole life. As a kid I nagged my parents to buy me those puckery cherry belt candies at the gas station. Dusted in citric acid, they would make my mouth salivate at first sight. While I’d like to think my palate has evolved over the past decade I’ve spent cooking professionally, I still find myself reaching again and again for just a little more acidity to make a dish taste truly complete. Think about it: From a vinegar-spiked herby sauce spooned over a slow-braised piece of meat at a restaurant to the many recipes developed in the BA Test Kitchen that call for using a whole lemon, acid is what keeps me coming back for that next bite. These six recipes put a variety of sour ingredients front and center: chicken slowly cooked with caramelized citrus, fish glazed with sticky-sour tamarind, and more. Next time you’re cooking, see what a squeeze or a splash or a sprinkle of some kind of acid can do to your dish. I promise: It will be transformative.
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