The Vermouth Trick

It’s not really a “trick” per say, but it’s a tip I hope you all find useful.

Many people add white wine to some fish when they bake or broil them, as I’m sure many of you know. This helps cook and flavor the fish, and therefore is a very common supplement, or even replacement, for cooking oils. I certainly liked the taste, but I would seldom order whitefish with or without it.

Then I discovered an alcoholic beverage seemingly underappreciated in the world of cooking – Vermouth. Now, frankly I HATE the taste of Vermouth, dry or sweet (unless it’s in a Nigroni or a similar cocktail), but when you pour a mere tablespoon or two of it on a fish, the flavor all but disappears, especially if you add potent herbs. The pungent odor WILL fill your kitchen, but don’t be fooled – you won’t taste it on the fish.

“Hammerschlag, why would I add Vermouth if it smells up my kitchen and doesn’t add flavor? Wine really seems like the smarter choice!” Well, one thing wine DOESN’T seem to help with is holding the fish together. So often I used to order Salmon, Tilapia, Snapper or some other whitefish at a restaurant (or cook it myself), and it would always fall apart on my fork, that is if it miraculously remained intact after I cut a piece with my knife! In addition, I found the flaky texture to be very unappealing. Vermouth, on the other hand, keeps the fish silky smooth but holds it together, making it a more fulfilling experience and leaving less on your plate when you’re done.

“If the Vermouth helps keep the fish together, and the wine adds flavoring, why not use both?” Good question. Frankly, I don’t have an answer for you, as I’ve never bothered to try. If you have done that or wish to do that, please let me know in a comment how it turned out. I’d love to know!


I hope you found this useful and convincing enough to try using Vermouth yourself, if you haven’t already. Please let me know what you think in the comments below.

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