In this delicious season of grills, salads, and farm-fresh produce that needs almost no altering, the only thing that's missing is the right accent. Something subtle, but with a little flair—a secret weapon, ready to wow picnickers at your next potluck and the neighbors you're always tossing meat on the barbie for.
Good thing infused vinegars, oils, and salts exist. Recently I've been loving the ones from The Filling Station in Chelsea Market, which come in refillable bottles (refillable because you'll inevitably use them like crazy).
These 200 ml bottles start at $9.95. You can stock up on unusual, versatile, and remarkably not-overpowering vinegars like black cherry (for grilling peaches!) or fig (for grilled chicken!).
Beautifully clean, fresh-tasting olive oils like Persian lime and blood orange will gussy up greens in a flash (also starting at $9.95 for 200 ml), and black truffle salt will add an earthy kick to savory dishes. (Salts start at $5.95 for two-ounce portions; the truffle varieties are predictably pricier at $10.95.)
The Filling Station provides tiny paper cups and helpful instructions for tasting its wares, and it's probably no surprise that, as your coffee columnist, the espresso balsamic was my favorite. Though it has a rich and salty kick, it's sweet and luxurious enough to be used in desserts, too. (I've been making a reduction with it, which I use along with fresh strawberries as a topping on Greek yogurt.)
Condiments can make or break a summer cookout, and I have a feeling these will definitely make it. Do you have any other favorite brands or specialty shops for infused vinegars, oils, and salts?
The Filling Station
About the author: Erin Meister trains baristas and inspires coffee-driven people for Counter Culture Coffee. She's a confident barista and an audacious eater, but she remains a Nervous Cook. She also whips up fresh content—of the inquisitive variety—at the blog Inquiry Diary.