The unexpected ingredient is “smoked water.” As the name suggests, it is water that has been processed through a smoking system, acquiring the flavors and aromas typically associated with smoked foods. Anna Jones, a food author, described its taste as a mix of malt and caramel. However, she advises using it sparingly as its robust flavor can be overpowering. Jones often uses smoked water as a substitute for smoked meats, and it serves as a fantastic replacement for prosciutto.
Smoked water is a versatile ingredient that can add a robust, smoky accent to a wide range of dishes, from appetizers and entrees to baked goods and sauces. It provides a unique smoky flavor without the need for grilling or smoking meats. Here are some key points about smoked water:
- Versatility: Smoked water can be used in various culinary applications. It pairs well with baked goods like bread, adding a subtle smoky note to your recipes. You can also use it in sauces, cheese sauces, and with vegetables to infuse them with smoky flavor.
- Not Liquid Smoke: Smoked water is different from liquid smoke, a common flavoring agent. It lacks potential additives like molasses or vinegar and is produced using a distinct process.
- Simple Ingredient, Complex Flavor: Smoked water is made by passing water through a smoking system, allowing it to absorb the flavors and aromas associated with smoked foods. Despite its simplicity, it adds complex and rich notes to dishes.
- Use in Place of Smoked Meats: Some cooks use smoked water as a substitute for smoked meats. For example, it can work well as a replacement for prosciutto. This makes it an excellent option for those with dietary restrictions like celiac or gluten intolerance who want to enjoy smoky flavors without malt vinegar.
- Cocktail Applications: Smoked water gained popularity in London and was used in cocktails at local bars. You can add it to cocktails like Manhattans or Old Fashioneds to impart a smoky kick. There are also non-alcoholic mocktail recipes that incorporate smoked water.
- Use in Moderation: While smoked water adds wonderful flavor, it’s essential to use it in moderation, as too much can be overpowering. A little goes a long way in enhancing the taste of your dishes.
- Storage: Smoked water can typically be stored at room temperature for up to a year, making it a convenient addition to your pantry.
Incorporating smoked water into your cooking can elevate the flavors of your favorite dishes and introduce an intriguing smoky element that’s sure to impress your guests. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a home cook looking to experiment, smoked water offers a world of culinary possibilities.