Six amazing ways malt vinegar can improve your cooking

by Great British Chefs 31 October 2016

Are your dishes lacking a little kick? Check out these very impressive recipes that make the most of the sharp tang of malt vinegar and wake up your senses.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

Whether you’re a pickling pro or just wondering what else you can use a bottle of vinegar for other than seasoning chips, it’s amazing to think just how many different ingredients can be transformed after being steeped in the stuff. Malt vinegar in particular – distilled or otherwise – is quite unique to the UK, so when pickling at home it’s the best option if you’re after something different to what you can buy in the shops.

Of course, jars upon jars of pickles is all well and good, but for the most part they need to be paired with other foods rather than eaten alone (although who hasn’t enjoyed eating gherkins straight from the jar?). Take a look at these recipes – some easy, some more ambitious – to see how malt vinegar can become a key player at your next dinner party.

1. Sea bass marinated in pickled mustard seeds and turmeric

Apart from the fantastic presentation, Peter Joseph’s simple starter is a delicious way to take the best sea bass fillets you can afford and turn them into a dish which packs a punch. Slightly bashed mustard seeds are pickled overnight in malt vinegar before being used to marinade the fish alongside turmeric and garlic. The warmth of the mustard combined with the sharp vinegar and earthy turmeric contrasts perfectly with the fresh green beans.

2. Pickled jalapeños, prawn ceviche and avocado purée

Another starter with serious wow factor, this simple combination of prawns and avocado is given a finishing touch with home-pickled jalapeño chillies, which only need a week to take on the flavours of the malt vinegar. The dish might look like something out of a Michelin-starred restaurant, but will take you just one and a half hours to prepare.

3. Octopus, chorizo and pickled purple carrots

If you can get your hands on some purple carrots, be sure to set some aside so you can steep them in distilled malt vinegar, sugar and spices. Pickling carrots amplifies their crunchy texture and earthy, sweet flavour, making them the perfect partner to salty chorizo and meaty pieces of octopus.

4. Chicken liver parfait, pickled watermelon rind and herbs

You might’ve seen an odd ingredient cropping up on restaurant menus lately – pickled watermelon rinds. These have actually been enjoyed in the south of the US for decades as an accompaniment to barbecue, but they’ve only made it to UK shores in the past year or so. The rinds become incredibly crunchy once pickled in distilled malt vinegar, absorbing other flavours easily. Pair them with something rich like chicken liver parfait as in this recipe and you’ll soon realise what we’ve all been missing out on.

5. Raspberry vinegar

Raspberry vinegar can be bought in the shops, but making your own is much better. Use a combination of distilled and white wine vinegar and simply steep bashed up raspberries in the mixture for ten days – you can then use it to make salad dressings, deglaze pans to make sauces or even add a few drops into puddings for a zingy finish.

6. Pickled cockles

There are few recipes easier than this one from chef Will Holland for pickled cockles – boil cockles, pick cockle meat, place in container and pour over malt vinegar – but the results are fantastic. Just make sure your vinegar and cockles are of the highest quality and you’ll be rewarded with an incredible snack to enjoy with a drink before dinner.