A byproduct of wine production, verjus (French for “green juice”) is unfermented, unripe grape juice. In the vineyard, clusters of unripe grapes are picked to allow other grapes on the same vine to ripen more fully for winemaking. The “thinned” grapes are pressed, resulting in a juice with a sweet-tart taste—something like a thin Sauternes with a lemonade finish. Verjus is lower in acid than vinegar but still adds bright flavor to foods. And because of its low acidity, verjus doesn’t compete with the flavor of wine. It’s great on green salads and in fruit salads, in sauces for chicken and fish, and it also makes a wonderful addition to a grape sorbet or granita.
Verjus is available at specialty foods stores or online from wolffer.com; $5 for a 375-ml. bottle.
Opened verjus will keep in the refrigerator for up to two months.