Home cooks should know that about the best way to improve almost any savory dish, and many sweet ones, too, is to add acid — even just a smidgen from citrus or vinegar. These days balsamic (good, bad and indifferent) usually gets the nod, but in my pantry the workhorse when I want acidity tempered by mellow richness is good Spanish sherry-style vinegar. It’s an honest product not tricked up with caramel. Kitty Keller, an importer in Oakland, Calif., has some that are new to the American market, and they’re beauties. Copper-colored Mas d’en Gil, from Priorat, south of Barcelona, is more tart than sweet; use it to enliven a quick weeknight pan sauce for chicken or pork. Alvear from Cordoba in Andalusia makes both sweet and dry Pedro Ximenez vinegars; the complex dry one is my preference, especially for a vinaigrette.
Mas d’en Gil Agredolç, $39.95 for 500 milliliters (16.9 ounces); Alvear dry PX, $16.95 for 375 milliliters (12.7 ounces), markethallfoods.com.