Best Pantry Staples Kit: Acid League’s New Essentials Kit
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Recently I took stock of my kitchen and realized just how lucky I am. My pantry and fridge are packed to the brim with fun, yummy, and inventive essentials that have expanded culinary horizons and eliminated the guesswork (and often prep work) from weeknight dinners and WFH lunches. Even when I’m flying solo and have no recipe in mind, with my trusted pantry essential arsenal behind me, I can always expect exciting dishes that are full of flavor, even on the days when the culinary creative juices aren’t flowing.
And while there really does seem to be a new, noteworthy sauce, vinegar, spice, or salt making its debut almost daily (and most all of them fill a flavor need we didn’t even know existed), I think I’d be fibbing if I didn’t admit to having a favorite brand. If you’ve read any of my stories here on the Kitchn, then you’ll know I just can’t get enough of Acid League. From out-of-this-world cocktail alternatives to a sauce I have been known to call “liquid gold,” I’m convinced the brand can do no wrong. And I’m not alone. Just take their New Essentials Kit for example — it’s already sold out twice! With a cult-following like that, I couldn’t resist the urge to take the kit for a little spin.
What’s included in this absolutely essential kit? A bottle of EVOO, one berry balsamic, a complex flavor-rich alliums sauce, and my beloved secret sauce: Saffron Gold. Each of the four undoubtedly fulfill a different set of culinary needs; meaning, you could use all of them while making a meal and find supreme flavor harmony with absolutely no redundancy.
Let’s start with the olive oil. The balanced bottle is crafted from Arbequina olives grown with regenerative practices. The olive fruits are harvested at dawn and subsequently cold-pressed for maximal flavor. And let me tell you, the process is way worth it. This oil has enough nuance to stand out when dressing a simple greens salad, yet is not too delicate to tackle heartier EVOO duties, like bolstering a drizzle sauce or functioning as a luxurious bath for toasted bread. As an Italian (who practically douses everything in olive oil), you can trust me when I say this might just be the best stuff that’s in my kitchen right now (and I have an unimaginable amount of different EVOOs at the moment).
Speaking of my Italian heritage, I hesitate to admit this for fear of bringing shame upon my family name. But, this admission proves how good Acid League is. Okay, here it goes: I don’t like balsamic vinegar (my grandmother is making some serious hand gestures at me RN, I’m sure). Well, at least I didn’t, until this Wild Berry Balsamic grazed my taste buds. Unlike other balsamic vinegars I’ve had, this stuff isn’t sticky, nor is it too sweet. Instead, it hits like a good bottle of red wine; tangy, fruity (thanks to raspberries and blackberries), and round. I glazed root veggies with it, drizzled it over arugula with the olive oil above, and I reduced it with some butter and spooned it over salmon. And guess what? I loved every bite. Acid League, you’ve accomplished a feat that my father gave up on a long time ago. Consider me a balsamic convert!
Okay! On to All the Alliums. As a lover of all things scallion, onion, leek, and garlic, I confess I fell in love with this bottle before I even tried it. I mean with a name like that, can you blame me? One of the best ways I could describe the stuff is as a vegetarian fish sauce. It’s deeply umami, sumptuous, velvety, and rich. I’ve found it to be endlessly versatile because it’s a supporting flavor; not too strong to overwhelm the palate, but adds that certain je ne sais quoi all the same. It’d do wonders literally no matter how you used it. I’m not kidding — add it to a base for soup, in salad dressing, mix it into hummus, into the pan with butter when caramelizing onions (a revelation I’m glad I had), into marinades, on steamed veggies … I could go on forever.
Finally, Saffron Gold. You can check out my full, unabbreviated love letter to the stuff here, but I’ll give you a little insight into the life-changing sauce right now as well. The golden liquid is maybe the funkiest, most complex flavor I’ve tasted. It somehow finds a balance between spice (its a quasi hot sauce), saffron, brightness, and zest. It’s simultaneously silky, citrusy, and spicy and it adds an edge however you plan to use it (I’ve wowed many a dinner guest with this secret ingredient). Simply sprinkled over sautéed veggies, emulsified into a caesar dressing, or spooned over flaky fish with butter, I just can’t get enough.
Okay, okay. I’ve gone on long enough. All of that hype up was to say, just do yourself a favor and order this kit pronto. The truth is, if you miss out on it now (it’s bound to sell out a third time), there’s no telling how long you’ll have to wait for it to pop back up on the site once more. It’s a risk not worth taking because no meal should be boring, and this kit makes sure that every plate of food you sit down to eat is unique, exciting, and finger-licking good.