"If you've followed a recipe and it didn't turn out quite so good, it probably needs salt and acidity," says chef Rick Moonen of RM Seafood in Las Vegas. It's an easy trick to up the flavor of a dish -- without adding calories or fat.
"If you want to brighten something up," he advises in Smart Chefs, "try taking the zest off any citrus that catches your eye: lemon, lime, grapefruit, tangerine—all good. Those oils are amazing!"
Why is a bit of lemon or vinegar so essential? Chef Michael Psilakis explains, "acid helps us experience food on a palate at different times, so you have an evolution as opposed to a uniform flavor profile throughout the process of chewing. When you add acidity, you experience the food as a sort of roller coaster, with peaks and valleys, which is a lot more fun than driving on a flat plane."
It's the eve of New Year's eve: Resolving now to use more acid to perk up my food!